Monday, December 22, 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

Christmas comes early to San Marco Street park

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Travis squadron delivers Christmas gifts to East Tabor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
 
 
Multiple car accident blocks I-80 in Vacaville

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Famous Creations’ toy drive and cupcake sale

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Last-minute shopping at Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Kitchen fire dislocates family for Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 3 Comments | Gallery

Suisun City police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Fairfield police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

A look at the 2 NYC officers killed in ambush

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
Timeline of events before and after NY cop deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Pakistan makes arrests in Taliban school carnage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Satanic Temple puts up display at Michigan Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

 
Australian woman charged with murder of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Exit poll: Ex-regime official is Tunisia’s new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Opinion

Faust and the 2015 federal budget

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 17 Comments

 
Obama, surgeon general still losing to NRA

By Francis Wilkinson | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Let the music begin

By Colleen Britton | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

Horoscopes: Dec. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
 
Horoscopes: Dec. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

‘Hobbit’ goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Good news from Tom Brokaw: His cancer is in remission

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Review: ‘The Interview’ deserves to be seen

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B7

 
Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Sports

The Week Ahead: Not much of a break for Christmas

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Steelers, Packers win, move into playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders knock Bills out of playoffs with 26-24 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings snap 5-game losing skid, beat Lakers 108-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Burns gives Sharks late-night win over Blues in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
NFL Roundup: Cowboys end 4-year drought, make playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

7 hurt when lightning strikes near Tampa Bay game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
India’s Arjun Atwal wins Dubai Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Documents: FSU QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Super-G crash makes Vonn wait in bid for record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Survey: US gas prices fall 25 cents per gallon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7