The current downsizing in the military is many soldiers’ primary concern. The cuts affect families, careers, and unit cohesiveness, among many other things. The most recent blow to morale came in by way of the announcement that around 550 Army Majors will be cut from service by next spring.
The wildest part of this news is that many of these notifications will be sent to officers currently serving in Iraq. Vice Chief of Staff General John Campbell acknowledged sending pink slips to soldiers during their deployments is difficult but it must be done. The Army refrained from announcing how many majors would be informed while deployed.
This decision comes immediately after the Army announced similar cuts for 1,200 captains currently serving in the ranks. 48 of these captains were given pink slips while in Afghanistan.
General Campbell said, “The ones that are deployed are certainly the hardest. What we try to do there is, working through the chain of command, minimize the impact on that unit then maximize the time to provide to that officer to come back and do the proper transition, to take care of himself or herself, and the family.”
The Army has targeted young officers who have not served long enough to earn retirement in an effort to reduce personnel numbers to meet the standards imposed by budget cuts.
This issue goes much deeper than the anxiety over losing a job. Telling leaders they will be out of a job as soon as they get home from Afghanistan seems wrong. These men and women are outside the wire, fighting in a combat zone, only to be told that they will no longer be needed immediately after deployment.
How would you react if you received a pink slip after a long patrol in Afghanistan? Is it right to deliver these notices to those who are deployed?
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