Wednesday, July 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Quality a factor in Army, Marines drawdown

By
From page B10 | October 14, 2012 |

Soldiers and Marines have had the most deployments, seen the toughest fighting and suffered the greatest number of U.S. casualties in recent wars. As with most post-war periods, ground forces also will see their career opportunities tighten faster than for other service branches.

The Army plans to shed 60,000 troops, 11 percent of its active force, to reach 490,000 by fiscal 2017. The Marine Corps will cut 20,000 – 5,000 a year during the next four years –

to reach an end-strength of 182,100.

Both services say they are determined through the drawdown to sustain force quality and to keep a proper mix of job skills and leadership experience to meet future requirements.

“Everything we do through the next five years is going to be about making the Army a quality force,” said Al Eggerton, deputy chief of the officer division for the directorate of military personnel management. “We’ve gotten an awful lot of experience in the last 10 years of war and we’re going to make selections to keep the very best of that that we can. And we’re going to make sure we level our force across the optimum grades and skills and that we don’t have any hollow points.”

This time, “we won’t just be opening the door and allowing everyone to walk,” he said. “We want to use precision, care and compassion.”

Army leaders haven’t reached final decisions yet on grade structure or skill mix for the post-drawdown force, so Eggerton can’t say yet how force cuts will impact specific groups of officers or enlisted.

“That’s a point of contention for field officers who would love to know exactly how we’re going to do this,” Eggerton said. “But at this point we’ve got the framework but not the decisions.”

When final decisions are made, perhaps soon after the election, Eggerton said, “we will begin to look at each year group of the drawdown period and, by grades and skills, analyze our populations to determine where we need to pare and where there are shortages or gaps we have to fill.”

In the post-Cold War drawdown of the 1990s, to meet force targets, Army cut recruiting too deeply, creating hollow areas that later impacted the career force. Recruiting this time is falling more modestly.

From 2004 to 2010, the Army was expanding and officer promotion selection rates “were allowed to go fairly high because we needed to keep all the fully qualified people we had,” Eggerton said. In the last two years, rates moved “back toward what was the norm prior to our large expansion.”

So competition for promotion is rising. Some officers in overmanned skills, if not selected for promotion on a first pass, are being invited to leave service early through waivers of remaining service obligations.

Other officers are being offered “affiliation bonuses” to leave active duty for reserve components. To sharpen this incentive, the Army has Congress to double the maximum affiliation bonus to $20,000.

Army also has asked for authority to separate some officers involuntarily, anticipating that voluntary enticements and the usual promotion board process of separating officers who twice fail selection to the next highest rank won’t get the Army to its drawdown targets fast enough.

“Some year groups and grades won’t get a chance to be seen by the promotion process and separate through that, which would be more natural,” Eggerton said. He can’t say yet how many officers might be forced out if Congress grants that authority.

For the enlisted force, the goal is “precision retention” of careerists. Commanders will be able to deny even “enlisted members who are fully qualified the opportunity to re-up their contracts” based on service needs.

But the key force-shaping tool is the enlisted Qualitative Service Program, introduced earlier this year, to identify noncommissioned officers for involuntary early separation from active duty. A series of “centralized enlisted selection board processes,” the QSP will allow tailoring of the force based on how well leaders have developed and imbalances across skills.

The first QSP board in June denied continued service to 138 active duty and 40 active Guard reserve senior NCOs. Eight more boards are planned for 2013, all of them targeting grades and skills projected to be over strength or lacking viable career progression without QSP board action.

To be considered for QSP, soldiers who are E-9 must have three years time in grade. Those in E-8 and below must have four years in grade.

Gen. James Amos, Marine Corps commandant, said the Corps plans no involuntary “reductions in force” that would cut service contracts short. That would not be “keeping faith” with Marines “who are bred on loyalty and faithfulness” and who have put their lives on the line again and again.

That said, competition to re-enlist or for officers to extend service obligations “will be a little more fierce” as the size of the Corps falls. This will motivate Marines “to be the very best they can. So that is how I keep faith,” Amos recently told a group of news reporters.

Like the Army, the Marine Corps has slowed recruiting. During the Iraq war, its accession target some years hit 35,000, Amos said, up from the normal 30,000. In fiscal 2012, the Corps signed only 28,500 recruits.

Meanwhile, first-term re-enlistments have become “much more competitive,” Amos said. Combat experience alone is no guarantee a Marine will be retained because 70 percent of current Marines have seen combat.

And top-performing Marines who haven’t seen combat shouldn’t feel discouraged about their career prospects. First of all, the world “isn’t getting any nicer out there,” Amos said, so Afghanistan likely won’t be the last chance this generation of Marines has to fight for their country.

But also a “superstar” Marine who hasn’t seen combat will still compete favorably for promotion with a combat-experienced Marine who “is something less than a superstar player,” Amos said. “Our system is designed, promotion-wise, actually to (find) the best Marine.”

“Combat is a pretty good filter for the performance of a Marine under stress. But over time we have gone through periods of peace. And our bright young Marines have always floated to the surface in preparation for future combat,” Amos said.

To comment, email milupdate@aol.com, write to Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA, 20120-1111 or visit: www.militaryupdate.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano County Fair set to open Wednesday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Marketing study looks at Berryessa resorts

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

Rio Vista woman died in Suisun City crash

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Police arrest suspected intruder

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Activity is Medicine program coming to Suisun senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
 
Big-rig crash shuts down freeway onramp

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Icon sends first A5 into the skies on maiden flight

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B7

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Suisun City police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Weather for Wedneday, July 30, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Hamas demands for cease-fire and Israel’s concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Fist bumps less germy than handshakes, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
New California fines for wasting water take effect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California lifeguard injured by lightning improves

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E charged with obstruction over San Bruno blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Chevron California refinery overhaul up for vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tuberculosis patient who refused care is arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

4 charged with murder in death of USC student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Crews make gains on 2 California wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Poll: Immigration concerns rise with tide of kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, Europe impose tough new sanctions on Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate confirms McDonald as VA secretary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Body of young stowaway found in US cargo plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Report: Health premiums rose significantly in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate bill would end NSA phone records collection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Liberians in US worry about Ebola outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

Opinion

Red light camera fate now uncertain in state

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Obscure state agency creates big money problems

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

Some people have missed the drought memo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
What kids don’t know would shock you

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Cemetery support committee thanks sponsors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What to do when ‘it’ hits the fan

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
I like Liam, but I think he’s interested in another girl

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

Horoscopes for July 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead dinner to make back-to-school smoother

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

You too can bake artisanal quality bread at home

By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B6

 
A healthy afterschool snack that eats like a treat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Music aside, Queen of Soul is pumped for fair food

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield Indians blank Next Level Athletic to win SRL tournament title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Mudcats tie Vacaville Admirals

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

No joke: Kings’ Cousins hopes for Team USA shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Liriano fans 11 in Pirates’ 3-1 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Athletics rally for 6 runs in 9th, beat Astros 7-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Husband arrested in death of NBA player’s aunt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Triple-A brawl results in 11 suspensions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers sign former Cardinals RB Alfonso Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vin Scully to return for 66th season in LA in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
McDonald’s could be liable for labor practices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Food writers subpoenaed in ‘pink slime’ lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks end lower ahead of economic data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Twitter 2Q results soar, stock flies high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Jack L Hudack

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jeanetta M. Hale

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Patricia Jo McDonald

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5