Saturday, March 29, 2008

Army Officer Retention

"An expensive Army effort to retain young officers with big cash bonuses has fallen short of its target, underscoring the military's continuing struggle to recruit and keep troops. ... Senior Army officials acknowledge that the retention program missed its goal but credit the incentives with helping to avert a much larger manpower crisis. The Army is hoping to add tens of thousands of soldiers by 2010, including thousands of new captains. ... To make its numbers, the Army has had to repeatedly lower its eligibility standards, allowing in a larger number of recruits who lack high-school diplomas, are out-of-shape or have criminal records", WSJ, 26 January 2008.

"The military is weighing changes to its deployment policies to retain young Army officers amid concerns that repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan are driving them from service. ... The number of West Point graduates leaving the military as soon as their initial tours are up is at a 25-year high. ... In Congressional testimony late last month, the Army's chief of staff, Gen. George Casey, warned that the Army was under significant strain and needed to reduce the length of its overseas combat tours from 15 months to 12 months as quickly as possible. 'It's impacting on their families, it's impacting on their mental health. We just can't keep going at the rate that we're going,' he told lawmakers", WSJ, 26 March 2008.

George Casey is to be commended for his candor which I find very unusual for our current crop of generals.

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