Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Erica D. Gamble


In 2017, more than 18% of the workforce in the Department of Defense (DoD) was eligible to retire. Employee retirement continues to present a persistent shortage of DoD knowledge workers, especially in security protections. The purpose of this qualitative single case study within a DoD intelligence agency was to explore succession planning strategies that DoD managers use to ensure knowledge possessed by retirees was transitioned to incumbent knowledge workers. The conceptual frameworks for this study were the 7-pointed star model for succession planning and the 4 pillars of knowledge management. The population was DoD managers from STEM and cyber intelligence agency departments located in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area who have successfully implemented succession planning for senior knowledge workers. Data were collected from interviews with 6 DoD managers and a comprehensive review of documents on succession planning. Data were analyzed using Yin’s 5-phased cycle. Four themes emerged from this study: prioritize and shift the culture toward succession planning, implement succession planning for the entire workforce, develop individual and organizational succession plans, and establish a succession planning policy and enterprise-wide program. The implications for positive social change include the potential for increased agency continuity by improving employee retention, which may enhance organizational and community relationships through the prosperity of knowledge workers.