Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA)
Since 1983, the mission of the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA) has been to provide a sound basis for policy and planning for the Army of the future During the post-Vietnam transition from conscription to an all volunteer force, Army G1 LTG Maxwell Thurman realized that the Army needed innovative policies to remain competitive in the American talent market.
In view of the world's dynamic threat and economic environments, Thurman believed that only a dedicated analytical body could achieve this, and so he championed the establishment of OEMA. This HQDA asset was nested within West Point's Department of Social Sciences to provide it with an intellectual environment for active-duty Army analysts to grow in knowledge and contribute to policy formulation. Faculty assignments at West Point attract talented officers, men and women who are current in the latest economic theory and scholarship. They continuously hone their expertise via teaching and professional development within a vibrant community of practice. Their faculty credentials engender collaboration with peers at the nation's top universities. Perhaps most importantly, however, the intellectual freedom provided by an academic setting promotes out-of-the-box thinking, allowing OEMA to focus on long-term solutions to strategic challenges rather than succumbing to the day-to-day bureaucratic pressures it would likely face if at the Pentagon.
OEMA's analytical efficacy stems from its creation of the largest repository of online personnel data in the Department of Defense. Continuously updated, this resource allows for the rapid analysis of developments across all segments of the Army's workforce. With the right talent, operating environment, and a world-class programming and data processing infrastructure in place, OEMA has provided economic and manpower analysis for senior leaders throughout the government for nearly three decades.
Lieutenant Colonel David Lyle is an Associate Professor of Economics and the current Director of the Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis. He has publications in the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Labor Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the American Economic Journal: Applied, the Economics of Education Review, American Economic Association, and the Strategic Studies Institute. Lieutenant Colonel Lyle earned a B.S. in economics at West Point in 1994 and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003. His primary areas of research are labor economics, econometrics, human capital, and talent management.
The Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis has recently published several studies that establish a framework for an office corps strategy focused upon talent. Each paper has a short 5-min video that summarizes the paper’s content.