Understanding the revolving door phenomenon for retired mid-grade military officers
Hammond, Devin K.
Zayd, Matthew A.
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As the Department of Defense (DOD) places increased emphasis on a smaller, skilled workforce, Human Capital and Social Capital (HC and SC) preservation become more important. The revolving door is an efficient but politically charged HC and SC preservation method. How are retired military second careers framed, and how should we understand them? What HC investments does the DOD make in officers, and what use is that investment to second-career employers? How large is the revolving door, and what can we learn by examining it in this officer group? This project uses DOD databases and previously gathered information to sample retired field grade officers and understand the revolving door. It recognizes the revolving door as an efficient way to maximize HC and SC return and the public perception as an unfair practice. Results indicate that the 30–40 percent recaptured retired officer HC tracks DOD civilian hiring trends and represents less than 2 percent of DOD new GS civilian hires annually. Retired officers tend to stay in their second career for at least 10 years. The project concludes that rehiring retired officers allows the DOD to maintain its operational focus. It recommends policy-makers continue the revolving door practice with safeguards in place to maintain transparency, equity, and oversight.
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