Posted on Jan 23, 2015
SSG Small Group Leader
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A co-worker and I were talking the other day about leaders not being able to think outside the military point of view and suffering from institutionalization. This got me to thinking.

If a service member has completed 10-12 years of straight federal active service more than likely they're trying to make 20+ before leaving with retirement. My thought was this; what if those service members in the 10-12 year TIS bracket be separated from the service for two years minimum and four (4) years maximum (no Guard or Reserve service allowed) in order to work on the outside to gain another perspective and see that maybe the military perspective isn't the only perspective. Once the 3.5 year mark in the civilian workforce, the service member can either elect to stay in the civilian sector or continue their service where they left off at (if one left at 12 years TIS and stayed out 4 years they would retain their rank and TIS/TIG at the point in their career they left. No TIS/TIG credit for time in civilian sector).

If they elected to stay in the civilian sector past the 4 year mark and then decided to re-join the military it was business as usual; retention of TIS but loss of rank and the other pitfalls.

I spent 14 years between Feb 1992 to Mar 2006 in the civilian sector and I feel this has given me the ability to see things from more than just a military or institutionalized perspective. Sometimes we as leaders especially those seniors who have been in the military since they were 17 or 18 and are pushing their mid-40s can't see past the militality and or think in colors other than black/white/gray.

I know this would never fly but I thought it would be something worth asking opinions about. What does the RP community think?
Posted in these groups: Leadership abstract 007 Leadership
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Responses: 3
CW5 Desk Officer
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It's a neat idea, SSG (Join to see), but I think you're right that it would probably not fly. I believe the military does have similar programs, but the service members stay in while they go work with industry or attend a degree program.

The degree programs are a pretty sweet deal because the service members (usually officers, I think) get paid their military pay to attend college.

I have heard of programs that allow certain military members to go work in the civilian sector. I think they are fairly specialized jobs and the numbers are very small.
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LTC Cavalry Officer
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Not just officers CW5 (Join to see) (although still a majority). The US Army Student Detachment, one of the subordinate companies in my battalion, has all of these Soldiers assigned to them (plus many others) and we do have several senior NCOs (SGMs) in funded civilian education programs.
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LTC Cavalry Officer
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Always good to get different perspectives SSG (Join to see), but one concern I see would be pay. Would the government guarantee pay equal to their military pay while they find a job/position in the civilian workforce, and would they guarantee them their military job on return?
Also, would thise be a pure sabbatical, a pause in their careers, or would they continue to be able to progress (get promoted) with their peers?

Seems to be a more complex opportunity, but usually the best things are!
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SSG Small Group Leader
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Sir, I was thinking more along the lines of maybe pay the same as that of a SGT (E5) that has topped out at pay along with what they were earning in their civilian sector job. Plus they would retain their MOS and pay grade.

About promotions with their peers. I think something like the old SQT each year with a certain level of proficiency (say 95% yearly) while in the civilian sector would be used to judge a service members ability to progress along with their peers.

I feel that if a higher proficiency score was required yearly it would keep those just wanting a break from service from 'riding' along and retaining what they left behind. We all know there's leaders whether non-commissioned, warrant or commissioned that basically ride the waves until retirement.

Sir, I really didn't sit down and draw this out on paper. I mainly war gamed it in my head. Plus, I feel it would give those service members who've been in say 15+ years an idea of what it is going to be like when they leave the military after retirement.
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Capt Flight Nurse
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There are programs like CW5 Scott Montgomery made reference to, though the way the education programs work, you generally get E5 pay throughout your time in school, service time is added as a form of payment. There are a few, select (frequently medical or technical) programs that allow SM to work alongside their civilian counterparts with a remote chain of command, essentially "as civilians" (though they do still have an active chain of command and they are still very much in the military).
I can definitely see a potential benefit from the outline you've proposed, but there are a few things that would concern me. Does this SM have a guarantee of a civilian job when he gets this break in service for leadership expansion? If there is a guarantee, then that means there is likely a contract in place with certain industries or employers... If that's the case, then the benefit will be quite limited, the military personnel that try this program "on for size" are going to design a flowsheet or outline a way of navigating this new civilian experience so that the SM that follows can navigate better (it's what we do, you know that). Each subsequent SM will tweak it or add something, but the fact is, it ends up being a civilian version of a military program. Exposure to various leadership styles will be limited to the number of businesses and employers that participate... The more likely result would be a well run civilian business with 98% prior service personnel that feels like a military unit, lol.
There is some potential benefit to a break in service. Mine was 11 years. I wouldn't change some of it, I wouldn't waste a lot of it (if I had it to do over). I'm not saying it wouldn't work, or be beneficial, but I'm not sure the risk::reward or cost::benefit lines up.
Great, thought provoking way to start my day, though! Thanks!
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