[Excerpt] In the past several years, senior policymakers in both Congress and the executive branch have proposed various changes to the way in which officers in the armed forces are managed, most notably with respect to assignment and promotion. Supporters of these proposals typically deem them to be essential to building a force that can meet the challenges of emerging strategic threats, such as cyberwarfare, and to compete with the private sector for talented individuals. Some of these proposed changes would require changes to law, including provisions enacted by the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act (DOPMA) and the Goldwater-Nichols Act (GNA). This report provides an overview of selected concepts and statutory provisions that define and shape important aspects of active duty officer personnel management along with a set of questions that policymakers may wish to consider when discussing proposed changes to current law. The topics discussed below are often inter-related, such that adjusting the parameters of one can affect the operation of others. For example, reducing the number of authorized positions at a higher grade would likely result in slower promotion timing, decreased promotion opportunity, and greater number of mandatory separations under the “up or out” provisions or individuals deciding to leave military service due to perceived lack of upward mobility.