For the general public, corruption in personnel issues—including but not limited to the personnel management system—are neither the most visible nor the most sensational forms of corruption. They are, however, often the most pervasive and arguably the most corrosive to the defence system as a whole since they undermine the effective use of its most vital resource—its people. This chapter will examine the sources and impact of corrupt practices in the area of personnel, and will present the principles of successful anticorruption measures, as well as some examples of how these principles have been successfully applied in practice.
The goal of the defence personnel management system is to ensure that the right numbers of people with the right mix of skills and experience are in the right positions to provide for defence outputs—current operations, future capabilities, command and control, etc. If the personnel management system is to function effectively, it must perform two complementary functions (see Figure 5.1):
- Determine human resource requirements, based on current and future defence requirements and force plans. These include short-term requirements to meet the needs of the current force, mid-term (5-6 year) requirements for the evolving force, and long-term (15+ year) requirements for meeting long-term development goals.
Manage and develop people—as individuals and in aggregate—to maximize the human resources available to meet requirements. This requires systematic efforts to attract, train, motivate, assign, promote and retain personnel to ensure an available pool of personnel with needed professional competencies (knowledge, skills and experience).
For corrupt officials, it is the second function that is the most interesting; personnel management decisions that have a direct impact on people’s lives provide substantial opportunities for corruption. The first function is of less (illicit) interest, as the decisions involved are not easily translated into individual benefit. Yet from the perspective of building integrity, the existence of an effective requirements system is essential, since this creates a clear standard measure, linked to defence policy and plans, against which to measure the effectiveness of personnel decisions.
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