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Man on ground radios a B-1 Lancer in the distance.

Recognizing OLEA is a key node amongst the DAF and DoD network of research and analysis organizations – the OLEA Steering Group empowered OLEA to select and conduct analytical projects that meet approved Project Scoping Criteria reflecting OLEA’s niche within the DAF.

Project Scoping Criteria
  • Personnel Policy Relevance:

    OLEA conducts projects relevant to personnel policy, which are likely to inform key decisions or lead to implementation of solutions.

  • Over-the-horizon Impact:

    OLEA’s resources are best suited for over-the-horizon projects that require creativity and strategic vision in intensive, non-recurring efforts to develop novel solutions to persistent challenges. OLEA provides technical assistance to existing process owners enabling integration of research-based recommendations while respecting owners’ initiative in developing long-term information technology (IT) solutions and overseeing change management.

  • Impartiality:

    OLEA is committed to providing policy recommendations driven by evidence, which inform senior leader decisions rather than advocate for a particular outcome.

  • Labor and Economic Analysis Applicability:

    The optimal use of OLEA time is for meaningful personnel policy work that fits into our labor and economic analysis niche.

  • Data Availability:

    OLEA’s rigorous research requires data appropriate for the research questions and analytic methods. OLEA can provide recommendations on data collection to support subsequent analytic efforts.

  • Stakeholder Involvement:

    OLEA prioritizes work in which stakeholders are invested in improving processes, programs, and policies. We rely on stakeholders to define the problem, provide inputs necessary for the analysis, and integrate findings into their processes, programs, and policies.

  • Generalizability:

    OLEA prioritizes over-the-horizon analysis that supports total force solutions and projects in which high-level results can be generalized to other settings and shared broadly.

Our Data

The Secretary of the Air Force-signed OLEA charter directs OLEA to build and maintain a robust analytic dataset suitable for conducting econometric analysis of personnel policies.

OLEA’s data operations underpins the mission by securely acquiring and maintaining governmental and non-governmental personnel related data on a continual basis.

OLEA’s baseline data holdings include Department of Air Force Total Force personnel data dating back to 1991 encompassing over 3.1 million members who’ve served.

Integrating longitudinal personnel data with a variety of existing and future disparate personnel related data sources enables OLEA’s comparative advantage of conducting causal analysis. OLEA’s data acquisition mandate is a continuous pursuit.

This figure depicts OLEA’s data acquisition journey which will be a continuous pursuit. Integrating disparate data sets about people enriches research opportunities and analytical insights.
This figure depicts OLEA’s data acquisition journey which will be a continuous pursuit. Integrating disparate data sets about people enriches research opportunities and analytical insights.
Our Methods

OLEA employs a variety of econometric tools and techniques, some of which are:
• Randomized Control Trials
• Difference-in-Differences
• Market Design
• Survey Design
• Research Design


• Blended Retirement System Retention Impacts:
 - Is Blended Retirement Making a Difference? March 31, 2023, Air and Space Forces Magazine.

• Officer Classification Modernization:
 - For the Zoomies: ASFC Matching w/OLEA – Figure out how cadets REALLY get matched to their AFSC | AFSC Series Episode 56 on Apple Podcasts.

 - AFPC’s YouTube channel hosted video clips, Cadets explain:
  • AFSC Classification – Talent Questionnaire
  • AFSC Classification – Air Force Work Interest Navigator
  • AFSC Classification – Career Field Preference Questionnaire
  • AFSC Classification – Experimental Section