The Pentagon’s controversial plan to hire military leaders off the street

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Lateral entry, if approved, could open a door for civilians to join the military’s senior officer ranks. Some leaders want to explore this idea for enlisted military jobs, too.(Photo: John Harman/Staff)

 

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to open the door for more “lateral entry” into the military’s upper ranks, clearing the way for lifelong civilians with vital skills and strong résumés to enter the officer corps as high as the O-6 paygrade.

The idea is controversial, to say the very least. For many in the rank-and-file military, it seems absurd, a bewildering cultural change that threatens to upend many assumptions about military life and traditional career paths. But while it’s not universally embraced, there is interest in Congress and among some of the military’s uniformed leaders — even, they say, in exploring how the services could apply this concept to the enlisted force.

This is a key piece of Carter’s “Force of the Future” personnel reform. Unveiled June 9, it aims to help the military bring in more top talent, especially for high-tech career fields focused on cyber warfare and space. Advocates say it will help the military fill important manpower shortfalls with highly skilled professionals and, more broadly, create greater “permeability” between the active-duty military and the civilian sector. Continue reading

FAA: ‘No Experience Necessary’ for Air-Traffic Control

No experience? No problem. You, too, can be an air-traffic controller, guiding hundreds or thousands of flights from airport to airport across the country.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the position offers an “exciting, challenging and rewarding aviation career.”

The qualifications include being a U.S. citizen; starting training no later than age 31; passing medical, security and pre-employment tests; and earning either a bachelor’s degree or three years of progressive work experience.

And be able to speak English “clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment.” Continue reading