(WAVY) – Seasoned soldiers are being cut from the ranks.
The U.S. Army just announced that 19,000 captains and majors will be asked to appear before a screening board for early separation. And 4,000 of those men and women could be leaving by late winter or early spring 2015. But they may not be taking off their uniforms for good.
WAVY.com talked with an Army spokesman at the Pentagon who said the Army initially set this ball in motion in December of last year. Before the personnel subcommittee, the Deputy Chief of Staff said they were at a pivotal moment in history.
“Throughout our nation’s history, the United States has drawn down military forces at the close of every war,” said Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg. “Today, however, we are in the process of rapidly drawing down Army forces before war is over, while remaining in an unpredictable global security environment.”
The spokesman WAVY.com spoke with said now the time has come that an Officer Separation Board and Enhanced Selective Early Retirement Board have convened, and they’ll select up to 2,000 captains and majors for separation.
It’s a difficult process for all, seeing as how the end goal is to still ensure that the Army can balance the force, achieve end strength goals and retain soldiers for the future, while cutting some of the best they’ve had for years. They say they want to recognize the service and sacrifices of our soldiers and their families, but that the budget just won’t allow them to keep everyone on, at least not active duty.
But, the Pentagon spokesman said the Army will be encouraging some soldiers transitioning from the active component to continue to serve in the reserve component, like the Army Reserve or National Guard.
Officers with 18 or more years of service who are selected for separation will be allowed to serve until the first day of the first month of their 20th year of active federal service, earning them full retirement benefits. Those who do not, may have to deal with retirement benefits that are less than they had anticipated.