Today, we learn that Negroponte is taking tenative steps in this direction. A welcome development. As the WaPo reports today:
As part of an effort to break down barriers between intelligence agencies, employees will be required to serve tours of duty outside their home offices to qualify for promotion into the government's senior ranks.As a tepid first step, it is welcome. Naturally, of course, all bureaucracies will react by gaming the system and this initiative will be no different. What is more pressing, however, is to rotate or assign officers across multi-disciplines or functions even within their own agencies, let along across the community.
A directive mandating “joint duty” assignments was recently issued by John D. Negroponte , the director of national intelligence. It is one of a series of steps taken this year by Negroponte to better integrate operations among the 16 federal agencies that make up the intelligence community. . . The program, which will apply to General Schedule 13 and higher grade employees, will be gradually rolled out over the next three to four years, he [Ronald Sanders] said, in part because officials do not want to put the current crop of mid-career and senior leaders at a disadvantage in competitions for promotions.
Few Americans realize that a career can begin within one entity, and traverse a narrow and compartmentalized silo all the way to senior management. The result? A “senior manager” that has no real substantive idea or understanding what the rest of the organization does or how it functions. We don't always agree with Odom on things (and that, Dear Reader is a long story), but General Odom is right about that point — a human capital plan must expand the exposure of officers to other disciplines and management structures within their own service as well as joint train them.