Military Connection: Navy’s Laser Weapon: By Joe Silva

LaWS

By Debbie Gregory

The first verse of the U.S. Navy’s unofficial song “Anchors Aweigh” says:

“Stand Navy out to sea,
Fight our battle cry;
We’ll never change our course,
So vicious foe steer shy-y-y-y.”

The Navy’s newest weapon passed its field testing, and is fully fitted on one warship, ready for use. Would-be foes of the U.S. Navy might want to heed the song’s warning.

In August, 2014, the U.S.S. Ponce (LPD-15) left its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia on a deployment to the Persian Gulf. The Austin-class Amphibious Transport Dock, a Vietnam War-era ship, was fitted with the latest weaponry, a directed-energy weapon.

The Navy’s Laser Weapon System (LaWS) is a short range ship-defense system, intended to supplement missile and gun-based defense systems. It is guided using radar from the Phalanx CIWS (Close-In Weapons System), which is already equipped on the Ponce. The weapon uses a solid-state infrared laser beam, which can be tuned to low output to warn or cripple the sensors of a target. LaWS can also be tuned to high output to pinpoint and destroy the engine on a small boat, create a small hole in a larger target, or obliterate a small target, such as a drone.

In 2010, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions was awarded an $11 million contract to develop LaWS. In total, the Navy spent around $40 million over the last six years to develop LaWS. This may seem like an extravagant cost for the weapon, but the Navy sees LaWS development and production as an investment in the future.

While not intended to completely replace missile systems, there are several advantages to equipping more warships with the LaWS system. The glaring advantage is the price of projectile. Each firing of LaWS requires only the cost of generating the energetic pulse, estimated at 59 cents per shot. In comparison, the Navy’s Tomahawk missiles cost over $1.5 million per shot. Plus, missiles require millions of dollars in moving, handling and storage costs, including training personnel on how to safely handle each missile. Because the LaWS directs energy, there is no ammunition to store, which is a huge benefit for ships underway.

So far, LaWS has been reported to be performing perfectly. If all goes according to plan, the Navy could begin fitting other ships with LaWS and begin to develop direct energy weapons with longer ranges and more devastating capabilities, perhaps with enough power to sink an enemy warship.

While LaWS is a far cry from the TNT described in the 1906 song, it still stands true with the fighting spirit of the U.S. Navy that “Anchors Aweigh” represents.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Navy’s Laser Weapon: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: More Veterans Join Congress: By Debbie Gregory

2015 Congress

By Debbie Gregory

Since the November elections, we have all heard about the  arrival of a new and different Congress in 2015.

In total, there will 71 new law makers. The House is welcoming 58 freshmen representatives, including 15 democrats and 43 republicans. The Senate is welcoming 13 new senators, including 12 republicans and one democrat.

This new class will add to an already diverse Congress, with nearly 100 Hispanic/Black/Asian lawmakers. Additionally, there are 104 female lawmakers between the House and the Senate.

But the new arrivals on Capitol Hill also add to the diversity through representation of another group-Veterans.

The four new Veterans that the House is welcoming are:

Martha McSally, from Arizona’s 2nd District. McSally is a retired Air Force Colonel (O-6). Col. McSally was an aviator,  the first woman to fly in combat.

Lee Zelden is the new representative from New York’s 1st District. Zelden was a commissioned officer in the Military Intelligence Corps of the U.S. Army. He was deployed to Iraq with the 82nd Airborne in 2006. Zelden is still a Major (O-4) in the Army Reserve.

Ruben Gallego is the new representative from Arizona’s 7th District. Gallego is a Veteran of the Marine Corps, and deployed to Iraq with Lima Company 3rd Battalion 25th Marines (Lima 3/25).

Seth Moulton is the new representative from Massachusetts 6th District. Moulton served in the Marine Corps from 2001-2008 as an infantry officer, and reached the rank of Captain (O-3).

Last year, there were 108 members of Congress who had military experience, 20% of the total. Adding more Veterans to the mix in Washington is crucial to the Veteran community, as Vets gravitate towards one another. As an example, Moulton and Gallego both graduated from Harvard and are reported to have mutual friends in common. Veterans, just as they did when they were in uniform, tend to look out for each other, and understand the needs and the issues concerning their fellow Veterans.

Beyond what they can do for Veteran-friendly legislation, those who served are proven problem solvers and bound to mission accomplishment. Adding these Veterans to the ranks on Capitol Hill could do much to whip Washington into shape and get things done. Who knows, maybe they will even raise Congress’s approval level!

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: More Veterans Join Congress: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Military Honored at Hockey Game: By Joe Silva

Winter Classic2015

By Debbie Gregory

Compared to other professional sports in the U.S., such as football or basketball, hockey may not be as popular or as watched. But those who do follow the sport know that hockey is not just a game, but a way of life­ – full of traditions. And hockey fans are some of the most die-hard and loyal fans  in all of professional sports. On New Year’s Day, the National Hockey League (NHL) and its fans honored the game, their towns, and American service members.

Since 2008, the NHL has paid homage to hockey’s roots, playing on frozen ponds, by holding an outdoor game. Each year, with the exception of 2013 (due to labor disputes), the NHL sponsors the New Year’s Day games, known as the Winter Classic.

On January 1, 2015 the seventh Winter Classic game was played between the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks. in The game, placed in Washington D.C. at National’s Park, drew a capacity crowd of 42,832. Fans gathered to see modern hockey pay homage to its heritage.

In true Winter Classic form, the Blackhawks wore throwback jerseys, based on their 1957 uniforms. Hometown team Washington Capitals wore throwback red jerseys, honoring their city with a large blue “W” and white stars. And there was plenty of  hockey played, with the game being decided in the third period. But one of the biggest “hits” of the event occurred before the  puck dropped.

As part of the opening ceremonies, nearly 200 service members from all five service branches came onto the field outside of the rink, as the U.S. Army Chorus performed the national anthem. On the ice behind them, players from area military and law enforcement hockey teams unfurled a massive 120- by 65-foot U.S. flag for the enjoyment of the hockey faithful in attendance and watching from home. The moment was punctuated with fireworks and a flyover by a pair of Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcons from the District of Columbia’s 113th Wing.

During the second intermission, the U.S. Army Chorus again took the field, and performed a medley of service songs. Along with the on-field ceremonies, Army Staff Sgt. Brandon J. Mahoney, Master Sgt. John R. Stricklett and Gen. Mark Milley, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command, were named the Geico Heroes of the Game.

Staff Sgt. Mahoney received the Army Commendation Medal for valor for actions in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in 2010. Master Sgt. Stricklett received the Bronze Star for valor in 2007, and the Army Commendation Medal for valor in 2003, both for his actions while on deployments in Iraq.

In addition to game-day honors bestowed on service members at the Winter Classic, members of the USA Warriors wounded warrior hockey team played the Chicago Blackhawks in a scrimmage during their practice session on December 31. This was third time that the Blackhawks have scrimmaged with the team comprised of wounded service members and Veterans.

It is great to live in a country where sporting events honor traditions, history and the men and women who serve in uniform. But what’s even better is when you realize that even though the Winter Classic is only played once per year, the traditions, values and respect seen in that single event are displayed all year round. Not just in hockey, not just in Washington D.C.– but in all that we do, all across the country.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Military Honored at Hockey Game: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Shooting at El Paso VA Clinic: By Debbie Gregory

El Paso VA

 

By Debbie Gregory

At approximately 3:10 P.M. local time on Tuesday, January 6, 2015, a gunman opened fire at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center- El Paso. The center is located adjacent to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

Statements made at a press conference by Major General Stephen Twitty, Commander of Fort Bliss and the Army’s 1st  Armored Division, confirmed that a lone shooter entered the facility, shot and killed a physician, and then allegedly fatally shot himself. Law enforcement has yet to confirm the report at the time this article was written. Additionally,  the names of the shooter and the victim have yet to be released, as law enforcement is currently conducting their investigation.

The shooting prompted a significant response from law enforcement, as Fort Bliss Military Police, the El Paso Police Department and federal law enforcement officers immediately responded. The VA carried out its own pre-determined response plan, with patients and VA medical staff  on security lock down for hours inside the medical center.

During the lock down, Fort Bliss leadership sent white buses to shelter those outside the building waiting for friends, loved ones and co-workers still  inside the medical center. The American Red Cross also arrived to offer aid.

Other than the two fatalities, no additional staff or patients at the facility were reported to be physically injured. But, of course,  there will be mental and emotional trauma suffered through the witnessing of the deadly shooting at Fort Bliss.

The El Paso VA website  said that the El Paso VA Health Clinic will close on  January 7th, and that anyVeterans with appointments would be contacted to reschedule as soon as possible. The page also says that the Eastside and Las Cruces CBOCs will remain open.

The El Paso VA Health care System Facebook page says that there is no requirements for VA staff to show up to work at the El Paso clinic on January 7th, but the VA is providing counselors for their employees to meet with in the afternoon The page also says that counselors will be made available on January 8, from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., for Veterans who were present at the clinic. This will take place at the American Legion Town Hall #58,  4724 Vulcan Avenue.

The Staff at MilitaryConnection.com extend our thoughts, prayers and well wishes to the family of the victim, the family of the shooter, the staff and patients at the El Paso VA clinic, and the military community in and around Fort Bliss.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Shooting at El Paso VA Clinic: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Military Compensation in Peril: By Debbie Gregory

pentagon2015

By Debbie Gregory

The Pentagon is currently strategizing for it’s next imminent conflict. But this will not be a war fought in a foreign land; it will be a political skirmish on Capitol Hill, as a congressionally appointed commission is poised to deliver the results of its two-year study on military compensation and retirement.

The 2013 National Defense Act mandated the formation of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission in an attempt to reign-in the steadily rising costs of military pay and benefits, which make up approximately 30% of the DOD budget.

In this new era of reduced defense spending, Washington is looking to cut expenses in the defense budget wherever it can. Information provided by the commission’s report will likely be used by Congress and the White House to generate proposals for changes to military pay and benefits.

The findings of the commission’s report are likely to set off an intense debate about the future of the military compensation system. The commission’s recommendations are expected to include controversial proposals which could include changing or eliminating incentive pays, trimming on-base benefits, and even altering the military’s retirement model.

Some officials at the Pentagon are trying to keep an open mind. Some support cutting personnel costs in favor of investing in research and new weapons. But there are many military leaders who fear that reductions to military compensation could seriously harm the DOD’s ability to recruit and retain service members.

As the Pentagon and the White House begin facing pointed questions about how the proposals might impact readiness, defense officials will launch an intensive internal review that ultimately will inform President Obama’s official position.

Leaders at the Pentagon aren’t sure what the commission will recommend to Congress. The DOD has selected a team of officials who will review, analyze and prepare a formal response to influence this spring’s  historic vote.

After the report is delivered on February 1st , the Pentagon is expected to have personnel ready to study the proposals. By February 26th, senior Pentagon leaders are expected to receive a draft of the formal response. By March 6th, the Joint Chiefs will examine the DOD’s official position on the commission’s recommendations. The defense secretary is expected to approve or reject a final version of the Pentagon’s response by March 13th.  At that time, outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel may have already been replaced by his successor,  Ash Carter, who is likely to be confirmed by the Senate by then.

From the defense secretary, the official response will then go to the White House, where it will undergo further review. It is likely that President Obama will provide formal recommendations to Congress by April 1st .

For the time being, many Americans, especially those in uniform, will be watching the results of this conflict unfold, hopeful about the outcome.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Military Compensation in Peril: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: US, Japan, South Korea Sign Pact: By Debbie Gregory

Trilateral Info sharing

By Debbie Gregory.

On December 28, 2014, a trilateral information sharing arrangement was signed between the U.S., the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan. The agreement pools information regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (North Korea) nuclear and missile threats.

The U.S. has already separately maintained agreements with South Korea and Japan. In 2012, South Korea and Japan attempted to form a pact to share intelligence. But the attempt failed due to public disapproval among the people of South Korea. South Koreans harbored ill-feelings towards Japan and its people because of  atrocities committed by the Japanese Empire before and during and before WWII, when Korea was a Japanese colony– and whose people were mistreated.

The U.S. brokered the deal so that all three countries can share intel directly with each other, thus alleviating the mistrust among its two biggest Asian allies.

The Trilateral Information Sharing Agreement provides that the three nations will do the following:

  • Establish a mechanism to enable the sharing of classified information concerning threats posted by North Korea.
  • Classified materials can be exchanged through any form, including written, oral, digital, electronic, magnetic, visual, and documentary forms.
  • Each participant will protect the security of any classified materials shared under the agreement.
  • South Korea and Japan may opt to share intelligence using the United States as a go-between.
  • Any information shared with the U.S. DOD will be designated with an equivalent U.S. security classification, and safeguarded accordingly. The DOD will then share the materials with the other participant.
  • Each participant will make the full text of this arrangement public.
  • The arrangement is not intended to have any legal binding effects under international law or domestic laws of any participant. Each participant is intended to implement the arrangement in accordance with their domestic laws and restrictions.
  • Each participant is expected to give the others written notice of their intention to discontinue participation.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: US, Japan, S. Korea Sign Pact: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: DOD Pay Changes 2015: By Debbie Gregory

Military pay 2015

By Debbie Gregory.

As of January 1, 2015, the new rates for Department of Defense (DOD) basic pay, basic allowance for housing, basic allowance for subsistence, and cost of living allowance for the contiguous United States have taken effect.

Service members will see an increase of 1% to their basic pay in 2015. For enlisted service members, this means a monthly increase of $14.80 for E-1 personnel, up to a monthly increase of $519.10 for those in the E-9 paygrade with over 18 years of service.

The basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates for service members will increase by 0.5% in 2015, which equates to an average of approximately $17 per month. BAH rates are calculated using median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) for each pay grade. BAH is factored separately in each pay grade, for personnel both with and without dependents.

The DOD implemented two changes to BAH rate computations for 2015. The Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act reduced housing rates, on average, 1% for service members. Renter’s Insurance, which made up approximately 1% of the allowance, was eliminated from the factor. Service members can calculate their 2015 BAH payment by using the basic allowance for housing calculator offered by MilitaryConnection.com.

The DOD’s basic allowance for subsistence (BAS) rates for military members will increase by 2.9% in 2015. The military’s basic allowance for subsistence is a nontaxable monthly payment intended to purchase food.  The annual adjustments for this allowance are linked to changes in food prices, as measured by the annual change in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cost of Food. From October, 2013, through September, 2014, the index of food prices rose by 2.9%, generating the basis for the increased BAS rates. The new BAS rates are as follows:

$367.92 per month for enlisted members

$253.38 per month for officers

The DOD also released its 2015 contiguous United States (CONUS) cost of living allowance (COLA) rates. CONUS COLA is a taxable supplemental allowance designed to help offset higher prices in high-cost locations. COLA rates vary, based on location, pay grade, years of service and dependent status. Rates can increase or decrease, depending on the prices in a specific duty location compared to prices in an average CONUS location. Service members can calculate their CONUS COLA on the COLA calculator offered by MilitaryConnection.com.

For 2015, approximately 7,000 service members will see either an increase or no change to their COLA rate. Around 12,000 personnel will see a decrease in their CONUS COLA payments, while some 4,000 members will no longer receive a CONUS COLA payment.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir Force,MarinesCoast GuardGuard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board,information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Navy’s Sabbatical Program: By Debbie Gregory

Navy Sabbatical

By Debbie Gregory.

Every year, thousands of service members separate from their military branch, for a multitude of reasons. Some of these men and women want to enroll in school, start a family, or reconnect with their families after multiple deployments and years spent away from home. Whatever the reason for leaving, military officials believe that they may be letting too many quality service members go, and are devising ways to retain some of the “keepers.”

Currently, the Navy offers a program called the Career Intermission Program (CIP) that annually allows twenty officers and twenty enlisted personnel  to transfer out of the active duty component and into the Individual Ready Reserve, for up to three years, all the while retaining their active duty healthcare coverage.

But CIP is a complicated and limited program, with numerous restrictions that may disqualify many of the same personnel that the Navy is trying to retain.

Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Bill Moran is pressing for an improved program that will do more than CIP does. Vice Admiral Moran is looking for ways to keep more quality sailors and naval officers in uniform, even if it means letting them take the uniform off for a few years.

“We need to offer meaningful incentives to keep the best talent we can, both men and women,” Moran said.

Vice Admiral Moran has proposed allowing service members to take a sabbatical from service. He believes that quality officers and sailors should be allowed to leave the Navy for a few years in order to accomplish their own personal, academic and familial goals, and then be allowed to return at the same rank and on the same career path.

By giving these service members this opportunity, it is more likely that quality personnel, who might otherwise leave the service, will stay for the long-term and become the senior leaders the Navy needs.

Vice Admiral Moran intends to ask Congress for the authority to expand the CIP program by opening it up to more personnel and altering some of the restrictions, including years of service and job description requirements.

The Air Force, Army and Marine Corps are each in the process of implementing their own pilot sabbatical programs.

While the Navy’s CIP program hasn’t been widely used in its five year history, Navy leaders, including Moran, believe that service members who want to pursue and complete their own personal, academic and familial goals are exactly the type of quality people needed to run the U.S. military in the decades to come.

Military Connection: VA Eyes End of Backlog in 2015: By Debbie Gregory

backlog 2015

By Debbie Gregory.

Over the last few years, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented several measures in an effort to end the backlog of benefit claims by the end of 2015. In 2014, the VA made up a lot of ground, but can they really eliminate the backlog by the end of this year?

The backlog refers to the number of initial benefits claims that have remained unresolved for more than 120 days. According to the VA, at the start of 2015, the backlog stood at approximately 245,000 cases,.

The VA was only able to reduce the backlog by 90,000 in 2013 and by 160,000 in 2014. By doing the math, it seems unlikely that the VA will be able to as much to eliminate the backlog in one year as they did in the last two years combined.

Looking at new and backlogged claims, the VA completed over 1.3 million compensation and pension benefits claims in fiscal 2014. Since 2013, the VA has utilized a combination of an upgraded, paperless system and worker overtime to aggressively combat the backlog.

VA Secretary Bob McDonald has stated that he is committed to honor the VA’s promise to zero out the backlog and improve the process, moving forward, to prevent delays in processing claims in the future.

As part of the national budget agreement, Congress allotted an extra $40 million to the VA for new backlog-related initiatives, including hiring additional claims processors, and upgrading technology and communication at the VA. Lawmakers also added close to $11 million to the VA budget request for the Board of Veterans Appeals, to address the next disability claims issue–the appeals backlog.

Since the VA has been effectively reducing the claims backlog, the number of appeals has risen significantly, from approximately 245,000 cases in March, 2013, to more than 287,000 cases at the start of 2015. The VA contends that the increase is due to the larger number of cases coming in, and is not a reflection of backlogged claims merely being moved to appeals. Despite the VA’s assurances, several Veterans groups are still concerned about the increasing number of appeals, and how long it will take the VA to complete those claims for Veterans.

For now, the first-time claims backlog has remained stalled since early November, which coincides with similar holiday slowdowns that the VA has seen over the years. The VA will need to start 2015 with zeal if they are going to reach their goal of eliminating the backlog by the end of this year.

For Veterans, the best thing that you can do to help yourself and help other Veterans is to keep the system flowing. Make sure that your claims are complete, with all necessary items attached. Missing information causes claims to be sent back and stalled, log-jamming the system. Using online applications will prevent this, as the programs will tell you when information is missing. Veterans should also utilize their Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) to help them file their claims. Assistance can also be obtained through the American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and more. You do not have to be a member to receive assistance from these organizations.

Military Connection: Army To See More Cuts in 2015: By Debbie Gregory

Army soldiers

Last Sunday’s ceremony in Kabul marked the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, and subsequently, the war itself for the U.S. military. But there are no parades to celebrate the end of the war or the American service members who fought in it. Instead, military personnel are facing more draw downs and force reductions, starting with the Army.

Every military branch bulked up their numbers during the height of the War on Terror. After the war in Iraq ended in 2011, the Pentagon began devising strategies for each branch to individually reduce its force size. Initially, the Army was slated to complete its reductions in order to end up with a force of 490,000 by 2018.

Army leadership began a pro-active approach, beginning three years ago, by offering incentives for early retirement to senior enlisted and officers with over 16 years of active duty. The Army also began to involuntarily separate those individuals who would have difficulty being promoted again before their separation time. The bulk of the cuts effect the upper-middle ranks of the officer and non-commissioned officers.

For 2014, the Army offered a one-time screening for involuntary separation and early retirement, which included majors in year groups 1999 through 2003, and captains in year groups 2006 through 2008. The results of those boards determined that 550 majors and 1,144 captains would be separated from active duty. A similar screening is tentatively scheduled for Army captains in fall of 2015.

Using their proactive approach, the Army has been able to cut 62,000 personnel since the draw down began three years ago. The Army finished Fiscal year 2014 with 508,000 active duty personnel, just 18,000 members over their 2018 target force size.

But sequestration and financial pressures on the DOD have pushed up that target to the end of fiscal 2015, while also calling for an additional cut of 40,000 in both 2016 and 2017. There is also the possibility of further cuts of 10,000 to 20,000 by the end of the decade.

Another round of Selective Early Retirement Boards met in November, 2014, to consider separating colonels with dates of rank of August 2, 2008, through November 12, 2010, and lieutenant colonels who have been passed over for promotion to colonel two or more times. The results of the screening are pending approval by the secretary of the Army.

A similar force reduction method, called the Qualitative Service Program (QSP), was also used last year to identify approximately 1,000 enlisted soldiers for separation and early retirement. QSP boards will be used again in 2015 to trim the ranks of military occupational specialties that are over-strength, or that have limited promotion opportunity.

The first of the 2015 QSP boards will occur February 10th through March 6th, in conjunction with annual Regular Army and Active Guard and Reserve (Army Reserve) master sergeant board.

Other QSP boards in 2015:

  • The nominative command sergeant major and key billet sergeant major board that meets June 15-19 will screen command sergeants major and sergeants major for retention.
  • The sergeant first class promotion board that meets June 2ndthrough July 2ndwill screen staff sergeants for retention.
  • The sergeant major training and selection board that meets September 9-25 will screen master sergeants and first sergeants for retention.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Army To See More Cuts in 2015: By Debbie Gregory