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Fighting the Long War with the Jr. Varsity

Let me preempt the inevitable brickbats by saying I never met a new/recent hire into the national security community that wasn’t better educated than I was at that age (and probably more inquisitive to boot):

The Department of Defense will face a worldwide civilian manning challenge in the near future, because roughly 22 percent of its work force will reach retirement age within two years, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.

This follows on the heels of an earlier report:

Some of Defense¹s most crucial civilian employees such as security and intelligence officials and human resources specialists are also quickly leaving the department. Attrition rates for employees in all those categories range from 8.5 percent to 11.7 percent, well above the department-wide rate of 7.9 percent, according to a recent Pentagon report.

Raw talent only takes you so far. There is a reason why any given year’s BCS champs would get blown out by the worst team in the NFL that same year. The primary difference between generations in any endeavor is the level of play and time on task, and that cannot be replaced no matter how sophisticated your knowledge management system (presuming you have a meaningful one in the first place).

Absent a dramatic shift to get mid-grade staffers back onto Uncle Sam's payroll to replace the old timers, it is not a stretch to say that your average member of AQAM has more time under his belt than any given government spook.