Saturday, March 28, 2015
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 [email protected], 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

Sheepdogs, handlers flock to Rio Vista for trials

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Fraisure Smith hearing delayed twice Friday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 14 Comments | Gallery

Luncheon honors women for their work to help others

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Solano Rotary clubs honor top firefighters from across county

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Eatery to host event to support child with cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Project begins to brighten downtown Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 22 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 26, 2016

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Suisun police log: March 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Going home to mother

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10, 2 Comments

 
.

US / World

 
Jury says Silicon Valley firm did not discriminate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Public defender: San Francisco jail inmates forced to fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Gov. Brown signs $1 billion water plan for dry California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
NY mayor: Someone may have ‘inappropriately’ tapped gas line

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Feds: Baltimore jail illegally keeping juveniles in solitary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Autopsies determine children found in freezer were slain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fetus debate looms following charges in womb-cutting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
‘Sopranos’ star’s apartment destroyed by blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pilot who scared passengers sues airline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

‘Mad Men’ costumes, props head to Smithsonian

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US economy showing signs of durability

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

Mexico City businesses cite losses during Bond filming

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Nelson set to return to role as Coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
German airline could face ‘unlimited’ damages for Alps crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
About 4,000 fishermen stranded on Indonesian islands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Warships move in key strait as airstrikes widen in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Iran says nuke talks focused despite Yemen crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

At least 9 dead as militants attack hotel in Somali capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned by Italy high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Living

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Today in History: March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: March 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

My elderly mother is so stingy I’m finding excuses not to visit her

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
The newest fitness trend: Mixing it up

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
‘Teen Mom’ star charged in picture posting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

People: Zane Malik

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Larry David Broadway role handed to Jason Alexander

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Stomp’ stopped by NYC blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Mannequin museum show hits New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Ranuado goes 6 for Rangers’ but A’s rally for 7-6 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Notre Dame beats Stanford women 81-60, advances to Elite Eight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry, Thompson lead Warriors in rout over Grizzlies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Evans helps desperate Pelicans end skid vs. Kings, 102-88

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Chicago rooftop owner charged with trying to defraud Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gift returns: Sterling wife wants house, $1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shaq acknowledges regret about decision to leave Magic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NASCAR topic: Cheating with tire pressure, or just hot air?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hot Rod Hundley, former NBA player and Jazz announcer, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Area resident Jimmy Walker takes lead in Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Logano wins Martinsville pole; Elliott to start 27th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
A-Rod’s cousin pleads guilty in Florida steroids case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Durant to have another surgery, miss rest of season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Home Seller 3/28/2015

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Real estate transactions for March 28, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2