Canary in the Coal Mine: Army Reserve and Talent Management

  • Mr. Philip F. Romanelli

Talent management of officers in the United States Army is approaching a state of crisis and far-reaching changes are necessary. The impact on the US Army Reserve (USAR) is exacerbated by the fact that it is the smallest component of the Army, is tightly bound to the Active Component, and lacks the dual mission and resulting political strength of the Army National Guard. So to some extent the USAR may be the canary in the coal mine--anything negative may affect the USAR before the other components. This research paper examines four key areas: permeability (movement between components), promotions (who is selected to lead at the next level, when, and how), positions (the structure of the organizations and how they are filled), and proficiencies (how are skills captured and employed). In analyzing these challenges, this paper advocates swift change to selected policies, emphasizes talent management, and identifies needed law and policy updates to enable the Army to better respond to the ever-changing strategic environment.