The Tactics of Talent: An Analysis of Army Officer Talent Market Design, Carter Gipson, UG '21 (2307164)
For the first time in over a century, the Army is undertaking a fundamental reform of the way it manages its people. At its center is the rollout of the Army Talent Alignment Process – a new “assignments process” for matching Army officers to positions at new units. In this paper, I evaluate this process and assess its merits and drawbacks. In particular, I develop a model of the Army talent market and conduct simulations to determine how well ATAP matches the unique talents of officers to the needs of units in these simulated markets. I show that although ATAP is an improvement on the Army’s legacy assignments process, it achieves suboptimal talent alignment. Moreover, it places onerous demands on officers and units who need to provide extensive, difficult-to-collect information for the system to succeed; it is susceptible to manipulation by savvy units; and it fails to account for a wide range of bigger-picture personnel management considerations, including officer development, diversity, and more. As a result, I propose an alternative design of the Army talent market, which I refer to as the Talent Alignment Optimization Process, that is better suited to the objectives of Army Talent Management.