Trends

The Army's work structure is the basis for selecting, training, organizing, and managing personnel to meet mission requirements. The result of changing mission requirements has been the development of a smaller, more flexible force with a wider range of fighting skills—as well as new skills in negotiation and inter-personal interaction. The increased diversity of Army missions coupled with downsizing has led to the creation of teams composed of individuals from different work cultures with different skills. Some specific trends include:

  • The workforce is becoming more diverse with a growing role for women, the increasing age of military personnel, and the more frequent use of units composed of regular Army, reservists, and civilians.
  • The development and employment of advanced technology has created a demand for more highly skilled operators and technicians. It is important that the development of technology be integrated with work systems and human resource practices.
  • The trend toward joint operations involving hybrid units may require the branches of the military to develop common work structures, or at least structures that can be easily meshed. New missions, particularly those that involve extensive interaction with civilians, will require new tasks; new knowledge, skills, and abilities; and new forms of organizing.
  • Downsizing, in combination with advances in technology, has created pressures for soldiers in the lower ranks to share in decision making traditionally embedded in the officer ranks. Attention should be given to the implications of these new roles and for human resource managers.

Army decision makers need to see the design of jobs, work structures, and occupations as tightly linked to their changing missions, technologies, workforce demographics and family structures, and employment practices. The committee therefore recommends that Army decision makers think about the interconnections among these factors and take them into account in structuring work to meet the mission requirements and the needs of those who will be part of the Army of the future.



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