A COMPREHENSIVE OFFICER SABBATICAL PROGRAM:
RE-THINKING THE MILITARY OFFICER CAREER PATH
Commander James M. Gerlach
US Navy Reserve
The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of the Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
The military needs to retain the best officers and maximize the skills and abilities of these officers to achieve the more
proficient and professional officer corps required in the modern, complex operating environment.
This AY-09 USAWC Resident student author argues that due to limited opportunities for formal and informal education outside the military environment, changing demographics
within the greater military family, difficulty competing with characteristics of the civilian workforce and a growing civil-military
cultural gap, the military has not successfully maximized the quality, proficiency and professionalism of its officer corps. He proposes a comprehensive sabbatical program requiring military
professionals, at certain junctures in their careers, to take a hiatus from military service for a two or three-year period to pursue
an education, start a family, work in the civilian labor force or otherwise pursue life outside the military before returning to the
military to resume their career.
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