The Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) (Pub.L. 96–513) is a United States federal law passed in 1980 that for the first time standardized officer personnel management across the United States Armed Forces. DOPMA established ceilings on the number of field grade officers authorized to each service, created uniform regulations governing promotions, and codified rules regarding separation and retirement of officers.
DOPMA created stable and predictable career paths, institutionalized relatively short careers compared to private industry, and mandated the military adopt an "up or out" personnel management strategy (requiring officers who failed selection for promotion to be removed from the service). Although DOPMA accomplished many of its intended goals, many provisions and consequences of the legislation remain controversial.:16–23
|Defense Officer Personnel Management Act|
|Enacted by||the 96th United States Congress|
|Effective||December 12, 1980|
|Public law||Pub.L. 96–513|
Prior to World War II, the US Army and US Navy had different philosophies governing the promotion and retention of officers. The army maintained a seniority system based on tenure; promotions only occurred if there were vacancies at the next higher grade. Due to Congressionally imposed limits on the size of the army officer corps and extremely low turnover (resignations, retirements, and dismissals), a significant logjam in promotions developed during the interwar period. In 1940, army Chief of Staff General George Marshall (with the permission of President Roosevelt) purged the senior officer ranks to create vacancies for junior officers. Congress granted further authority to cull the ranks in July 1941 with the passage of the Army Vitalization Act.
During World War II, Army promotions up to lieutenant colonel were de-centralized and delegated to commanders in the field. This was in contrast to the Navy, which first introduced an "up or out" system in 1916. The Navy also instituted a centralized selection system, which it maintained even during World War II.
In the aftermath of World War II Congress drafted legislation that attempted to address three (sometimes competing) objectives: create "uniform" rules for officer management between Army and Navy (and later Air Force), promote a "young and vigorous" officer corps, and retain the capacity to rapidly remobilize if needed. In 1947 Congress consolidated Army and Navy officer management legislation into the Officer Personnel Act (OPA). With the encouragement of the Army (notably by General Dwight Eisenhower) OPA extended the "up or out" system across the military, requiring officers to go before promotion boards at set times based on cohorts (normally based on year of commissioning). OPA also ended the practice of appointing Army officers into specific "branches", giving the Army greater authority to move personnel to different functions and change organizational designs. OPA also authorized the services to grant voluntary retirement at 20 years of commissioned service.
OPA's emphasis on remobilization capacity drastically altered the composition of the armed forces. In 1945, there was approximately one field grade officer for every 208 enlisted personnel; by 1950, there was approximately one field grade officer for every 78 enlisted personnel. In response to this growth, Congress passed the Officer Grade Limitation Act in 1954 (OGLA). OGLA established grade tables for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force limiting the percentage of officers who could serve in the rank of major (and naval equivalent) and above. OGLA also limited the number of voluntary retirements of senior officers at the 20-year mark, concerned that there would be an exodus of officers once they met minimum retirement eligibility criteria. The retirement limitations were later repealed due to the military's assurance to Congress that the majority of career officers would elect to serve until they reached the 30-year mark.
By the 1970s, Congress desired to consolidate OPA and OGLA as well as clarify other legislation governing officer management. DOPMA, introduced by Senator Sam Nunn, combined many of the provisions of both OPA and OGLA. DOPMA established a "sliding-scale" grade table which authorized a relatively higher number of field grade officers during periods of personnel reductions. As such, promotion opportunities increase significantly during times of growth, but decrease more slightly during drawdowns.
The DOPMA "system" generally provides two opportunities to advance to the next rank. Officers typically will go before selection boards in cohorts based on the year they were commissioned. The majority of officers are promoted "in zone" (or "primary zone"); officers not selected will go before the next board ("above zone"), typically held a year later. Officers who are not selected "above zone" (twice fail promotion) are required to separate from the service, retire if eligible, or by exception may continue to serve until retirement in their current grade (but will never again be considered for promotion). At the discretion of the services a small number of promotions may go to exceptional officers ("below zone") who are promoted one or two years ahead of their cohort.
Congress desired "due course" officers (those selected in the primary zone) to be promoted within set windows based on time served in the current grade and cumulative years of service. While not specified in DOPMA, Department of Defense policy established targets for selection to the next grade, as a percentage from the surviving cohort. Desired promotion rates and reporting requirements of service board results are regularly published by DoD. Current promotion guidelines are as follows:
|Promotion to:||Promotion eligibility:||Minimum time in previous grade:||Target selection rate:|
|First Lieutenant/Lieutenant (junior grade)/(1LT/1stLt/1st Lt/LTJG)||1.5 to 2 years of service||18 months||All Fully Qualified|
|Captain/Lieutenant / (CPT/Capt/LT)||3.5 to 4 years of service||2 years||95%|
|Major/Lieutenant Commander / (MAJ/Maj/LCDR)||9 to 11 years of service||3 years||80%|
|Lieutenant Colonel/Commander / (LTC/LtCol/Lt Col/CDR)||15 to 17 years of service||3 years||70%|
|Colonel/Captain / (COL/Col/CAPT)||21 to 23 years of service||3 years||50%|
DOPMA was designed to apply to "line" officers and made specific exceptions for military lawyers, doctors, nurses, and other professionals. Non-line officers tend to be managed in significantly different ways based on custom requirements.
DOPMA's attempt to balance competing personnel objectives resulted in mixed success. DOPMA achieved Congressional goals to create uniform promotion outcomes, standardized career lengths across the services, and regulated the number of senior officers as a proportion of the force. It also created reasonable and predictable expectations of when an officer would be eligible for promotion. However, DOPMA also had unintended effects. The legislation has been criticized for creating a system that results in high turnover, frequent moves, and relatively short careers. Some of the assumptions underlying DOPMA have proven false; for example, the services' prediction that most career officers would elect a 30-year career was more optimistic than reality; by 1990 the average officer retired after 24 years of service at age 46. DOPMA has also proven difficult to implement. Since its inception, the services have repeatedly sought suspension of key provisions of DOPMA grade tables to manage drawdowns and force increases.
Others feel that changing conditions since enactment of the legislation require DOPMA reform. While the promotion system is predictable, it allows the services little flexibility to reward and manage its top performers. According to author and economist Tim Kane, DOPMA is "the root of all evil in this ecosystem," and binds the military into a system that honors seniority over individual merit. Kane argues that the resultant inflexibility causes tremendous attrition in the officer corps since officers have little control over their careers, but has persisted despite numerous efforts towards reform. Perhaps the most controversial provision is the "up or out" policy. Even the sponsor of the bill, Senator Nunn, argued that it was needlessly expensive to force officers through the ranks and rid others unnecessarily. However, the Department of Defense and the House insisted these provisions were included. Other changes to DOPMA that have been recommended to Congress include adoption of an "up or stay" personnel policy, greater use of warrant officers, and decreasing the number of officer skills managed in the "line" category.
The Ninety-sixth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 1979, to January 3, 1981, during the last two years of the administration of U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
The apportionment of seats in this House of Representatives was based on the 1970 Census. Both chambers had a Democratic majority.Captain (United States O-3)
In the United States Army (USA), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), and U.S. Air Force (USAF), captain (abbreviated "CPT" in the USA and "Capt" in the USMC and USAF) is a company grade officer rank, with the pay grade of O-3. It ranks above first lieutenant and below major. It is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy/Coast Guard officer rank system. The insignia for the rank consists of two silver bars, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version.Captain (United States O-6)
In the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps), captain is the senior-most commissioned officer rank below that of flag officer (i.e., admirals). The equivalent rank is colonel in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
Reflecting its nautical heritage, the term "captain" also sometimes is used as a military title by more junior officers who are serving as the commanding officer (CO) of a commissioned vessel of the Navy, Coast Guard, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship of patrol boat size or greater, while officers below O-6 commanding aviation squadrons (typically O-5 commanders) will usually use the less formal title of "skipper". (see rank vs. title)Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, colonel () is the most senior field grade military officer rank, immediately above the rank of lieutenant colonel and immediately below the rank of brigadier general. It is equivalent to the naval rank of captain in the other uniformed services. The pay grade for colonel is O-6.
The insignia of the rank of colonel, as seen on the right, is worn on the officer's left side (a mirror-image version is worn on the right side, such that the eagle always faces forward to the wearer's front; the left-side version is also worn centered on fatigue caps, helmets, Army ACU & ECWCS breasts, inter alia). By law, a colonel must have 22 years of service and a minimum of three years of service as a lieutenant colonel before being promoted.Commander (United States)
In the United States, commander is a military rank that is also sometimes used as a military billet title—the designation of someone who manages living quarters or a base—depending on the branch of service. It is also (sometimes) used as a rank or title in non-military organizations; particularly in law enforcement.First lieutenant
First lieutenant is a commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces and, in some forces, an appointment.
The rank of lieutenant has different meanings in different military formations (see comparative military ranks), but the majority of cases it is common for it to be sub-divided into a senior (first lieutenant) and junior (second lieutenant) rank. The NATO equivalent rank for land force officers is OF-1 rank. In navies, while certain rank insignia may carry the name: "lieutenant", the term may also be used to relate to a particular post or duty, rather than a rank.High Year Tenure
High Year of Tenure (HYT) is a term used by the United States Armed Forces to describe the maximum number of years an enlisted member may serve before they must separate or retire. HYT is applicable to enlisted of all five military branches of the United States.
Officers are not subject to HYT, but are instead limited to statutory service limits by pay grade. See Defense Officer Personnel Management Act for officer information.
In the United States Army, soldiers will finish their enlistment contract if they exceed HYT unless they are reduced in rank.Hispanics in the United States Navy
Hispanics in the United States Navy can trace their tradition of naval military service to men such as Lieutenant Jordi Farragut Mesquida, who served in the American Revolution. Hispanics, such as Seaman Philip Bazaar and Seaman John Ortega, have distinguished themselves in combat and have been awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration of the United States. Hispanics have also reached the top ranks of the navy, serving their country in sensitive leadership positions on domestic and foreign shores. Among those who have reached the highest ranks in the navy are Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, of Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jewish descent, who participated in the War of 1812 as an assistant Sailing master; Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, for whom the rank of admiral in the U.S. Navy was created during the American Civil War; and Admiral Horacio Rivero, who led the navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Hispanic is an ethnic term employed to categorize any citizen or resident of the United States, of any racial background, of any country, and of any religion, who has at least one ancestor from the people of Spain or is of non-Hispanic origin, but has an ancestor from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central or South America, or some other Hispanic origin. The three largest Hispanic groups in the United States are the Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans.According to the U.S. Census Bureau the estimated Hispanic population of the United States is over 50 million, or 16% of the U.S. population, and Hispanics are the nation's largest ethnic or racial minority. The 2010 U.S. Census estimate of over 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. does not include the 3.9 million residents of Puerto Rico.
More than 43,000 people of Hispanic origin are sailors and civilians serving with the U.S. Navy.The United States Navy has implemented aggressive recruitment programs directed towards this group. One of those programs is El Navy, whose principal aim is to attract those who speak Spanish. It has resulted in increased recruitment of Hispanics for entrance to the United States Naval Academy. As of April 2007, thirteen Hispanic Americans who were graduates of the USNA, and nine who were commissioned after attending the navy's officer candidate school, have reached the rank of rear admiral and above.Lieutenant (junior grade)
Lieutenant (junior grade), commonly abbreviated as LTJG or, historically, Lt. (j.g.) (as well as variants of both abbreviations), is a junior commissioned officer rank of the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps). LTJG has a US military pay grade of O-2, and a NATO rank code of OF-1a. The rank is also used in the United States Maritime Service. The NOAA Corps's predecessors, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps (1917–1965) and the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps or ESSA Corps (1965–1970), also used the rank.
Lieutenant, junior grade, ranks above ensign and below lieutenant and is equivalent to a first lieutenant in the other uniformed services (the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force) and sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy and the navies of many Commonwealth countries.
Promotion to LTJG is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest all "fully qualified" ensigns should be promoted to LTJG. The time for promotion to LTJG is a minimum of two years after commissioning in the Navy or 18 months in the Coast Guard. Lieutenants, junior grade typically lead petty officers and non-rated personnel, unless assigned to small aircraft or on staff duty. A LTJG's usual shipboard billet is as a division officer.
Lieutenant, junior grade is often referred to colloquially as JG. Prior to March 3, 1883, this rank was known in the U.S. Navy as master.Lieutenant (navy)
Lieutenant (abbreviated Lt, LT, LT(N), Lt(N), Lieut and LEUT, depending on nation) is a commissioned officer rank in many nations' navies. It is typically the most senior of junior officer ranks. The rank's insignia usually consists of two medium gold braid stripes and often the uppermost stripe features an executive curl.
The now immediately senior rank of lieutenant commander was formerly a senior naval lieutenant rank. Many navies also use a subordinate rank of sub-lieutenant. The appointment of "first lieutenant" in many navies is held by a senior lieutenant.
A navy lieutenant ranks higher than an army lieutenant; the navy rank of lieutenant is a NATO OF-2 (US grade O-3) and ranks with an army captain.Lieutenant colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force, a lieutenant colonel is a field-grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.
The pay grade for the rank of lieutenant colonel is O-5. In the United States armed forces, the insignia for the rank consists of a silver oak leaf, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Navy/Marine Corps version.
Promotion to lieutenant colonel is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) of 1980 for officers in the Active Component and its companion Reserve Officer Personnel Management Act (ROPMA) for officers in the Reserve Component (e.g., Reserve and National Guard). DOPMA guidelines suggest 70% of majors should be promoted to lieutenant colonel after serving a minimum of three years at their present rank and after attaining 15–17 years of cumulative commissioned service.Lieutenant commander (United States)
Lieutenant commander (LCDR) is a mid-ranking officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps), with the pay grade of O-4 and NATO rank code OF-3. The predecessors of the NOAA Corps, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps (1917-1965) and the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps (1965-1970), also used the lieutenant commander rank, and the rank is also used in the United States Maritime Service and the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Lieutenant commanders rank above lieutenants and below commanders, and rank is equivalent to a major in the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps.
Promotion to lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy is governed by United States Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest 80% of lieutenants should be promoted to lieutenant commander after serving a minimum of three years at their present rank and after attaining nine to eleven years of cumulative commissioned service.While lieutenant commander is the U.S. Navy's first commissioned officer to be selected by board, they are still considered to be junior officers due to their origin as "lieutenant, commanding." This can be seen by the fact that lieutenant commanders do not wear the oak-leaf gold embellishment (colloquially known as "scrambled eggs") on their combination covers. This is in contrast to other branches, where majors wear the appropriate covers of field-grade officers.The United States Coast Guard used their own rank system until World War I. In 1916, discontent grew among Coast Guard Captains By law, they ranked below a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy despite similar roles and duties. Pursuant to the Appropriations Act of 1918, the Coast Guard adopted the Navy rank structure to prevent disagreements over seniority. There are two insignia used by lieutenant commanders. On service khakis and all working uniforms, lieutenant commanders wear a gold oak leaf collar device, similar to the ones worn by majors in the USAF and Army, and identical to that worn by majors in the Marine Corps. In all dress uniforms, they wear sleeve braid or shoulder boards bearing a single gold quarter-inch stripe between two gold half-inch strips (nominal size). In the case of officers of the U.S. Navy, Above or inboard of the stripes, they wear their specialty insignia (i.e., a star for officers of the line, crossed oak leaves for Civil Engineer Corps, etc.).
Insignia of lieutenant commanders in different uniformed services in the United StatesMajor (United States)
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is considered field grade in the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps.
The pay grade for the rank of major is O-4. The insignia for the rank consists of a golden oak leaf, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version. Promotion to major is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980.Manning control
Manning control is a policy in the British Army which allows the army to terminate the service of soldiers at the end of three, six, nine, 12 or 15 years' service to maintain the balance of age and capability within the force and ensure that there are opportunities for talented individuals to move through the ranks. The policy has been criticised as a way of dismissing committed and loyal soldiers whilst avoiding providing suitable pensions or redundancy compensation.Personnel of the United States Navy
The United States Navy has nearly 500,000 personnel, approximately a quarter of whom are in ready reserve. Of those on active duty, more than eighty percent are enlisted sailors, and around fifteen percent are commissioned officers; the rest are midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy and midshipmen of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at over 180 universities around the country and officer candidates at the navy's Officer Candidate School.Sailors prove they have mastered skills and deserve responsibilities by completing Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) tasks and examinations. Among the most important is the "warfare qualification", which denotes a journeyman level of capability in Surface Warfare, Aviation Warfare, Naval Aircrew, Special Warfare, Submarine Warfare or Expeditionary Warfare. Many qualifications are denoted on a sailor's uniform with U.S. Navy badges and insignia.United States Air Force
The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.
The U.S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, and is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation. The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units and serves as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force components are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commands, and neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force have operational command authority over them.
Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U.S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2017, the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty airmen, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 reserve airmen, and 105,700 Air National Guard airmen.United States Army
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed (14 June 1775) to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.As a uniformed military service, the U.S. Army is part of the Department of the Army, which is one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The U.S. Army is headed by a civilian senior appointed civil servant, the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) and by a chief military officer, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) who is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is the largest military branch, and in the fiscal year 2017, the projected end strength for the Regular Army (USA) was 476,000 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) had 343,000 soldiers and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) had 199,000 soldiers; the combined-component strength of the U.S. Army was 1,018,000 soldiers. As a branch of the armed forces, the mission of the U.S. Army is "to fight and win our Nation's wars, by providing prompt, sustained, land dominance, across the full range of military operations and the spectrum of conflict, in support of combatant commanders". The branch participates in conflicts worldwide and is the major ground-based offensive and defensive force of the United States.United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines or U.S. Marines, is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations with the United States Navy as well as the Army and Air Force. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the four armed service branches in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States.
The Marine Corps has been a component of the U.S. Department of the Navy since 30 June 1834, working closely with naval forces. The USMC operates installations on land and aboard sea-going amphibious warfare ships around the world. Additionally, several of the Marines' tactical aviation squadrons, primarily Marine Fighter Attack squadrons, are also embedded in Navy carrier air wings and operate from the aircraft carriers.The history of the Marine Corps began when two battalions of Continental Marines were formed on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as a service branch of infantry troops capable of fighting both at sea and on shore. In the Pacific theater of World War II the Corps took the lead in a massive campaign of amphibious warfare, advancing from island to island. As of 2017, the USMC has around 186,000 active duty members and some 38,500 personnel in reserve. It is the smallest U.S. military service within the DoD.Up or out
In a hierarchical organization, "up or out", also known as a tenure or partnership system, is the requirement that each member of the organization must achieve a certain rank within a certain period of time. If they fail to do so, they must leave the organization.