3 Takeaways from Ash Carter’s ‘Force of the Future’

Last week, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter gave a speech at his former high school that laid out his vision for reforming the military’s manpower policies. For those like myself who have argued that the current system is inflexible, antiquated, and poorly adapted for the needs of millennial service members, it was refreshing to see a sitting defense secretary stake out such a forward-thinking position on personnel issues. Carter laid out an array of different policy proposals, three of which I found particularly intriguing:

  • Expand “sabbatical programs” that allow personnel to take time off from the active duty force without harming their careers.
  • Create a path for individuals to enter the military in the middle of their careers, rather than just at the beginning.
  • Provide service members who have specialized skills assistance with paying off college loans they incurred before they entered the military.

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