The U.S. Army is under orders by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to trim the active duty force down to between 450,000 and 420,000 soldiers by 2019.
According to the Army’s latest numbers, as of April 1, 2014, there were 519,786 active duty personnel. In accordance with Hagel’s orders, each branch of service devised a plan of waypoints to reach their goal. To meet their next waypoint, the Army will have to separate 30,000 soldiers from active duty over the next year and a half.
The Army already began reducing its force size in 2012. From 2012, until the end of fiscal year 2013, the Army’s numbers trimmed from 550,000 to 530,000. And from 2013 to 2014, the Army separated another 10,000+ personnel to reach its current size.
The waypoints indicate that the Army will finish fiscal year 2014 on September 30th with approximately 510,000 soldiers. But due to budget constraints, Army leadership needs to reduce their forces down to 490,000 by the end of fiscal year 2015. In order to meet that level, the branch will need to reduce its active-duty ranks by around 20,000 soldiers in 2015.
To help current soldiers survive through the drawdown, the Army has reduced its recruiting and re-enlistment campaigns, and have offered early separations to those with little time left on their enlistments. The Army has also implemented strict enforcement of its performance and conduct standards.
The Army has also offered selective early retirement for officers and enlisted with more than 16 years of service, and reduction-in-force boards for officers and senior enlisted who are in currently over-manned fields. The Army does not plan to offer early separation incentives for members who are not retiring.
The Army expects at least 15% of the reduction to come through involuntary separations. Involuntary separations are mainly generated through Qualitative Service Program boards that determine which NCO’s and officers were selected out of the service.
Military Connection advises all Army personnel who may be affected by the force reduction to make sure that they have a plan for returning to civilian life. Whether it is going back to school using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, starting a new career, or starting your own business, www.militaryconnection.com is a valuable conduit to resources, tools and benefits that help Veterans succeed.
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Military Connection: More Army Cuts: By Debbie Gregory