The Army Times released some figures on the Army’s drawdown recently:
Fiscal year 2015 ended with just over 491,000 soldiers in the Army, which is 17,000 less than when the fiscal year started (October 1 2014).
Congress had set end strength at 490,000 soldiers, however with a .05% deviation the Army seems to be within required levels.
All in all we’ve 317 general officers, 79,256 branch commissioned officers, 15,038 warrant officers, 392,327 enlisted soldiers and 4,428 West Point cadets.
The National Guard and Reserve add another 466,000 personnel to the mix.
Anyone can plainly see that we’ve cut 17,000 from our ranks, but are they the correct 17,000?
Earlier this year we saw the case of a Green Beret facing separation for beating an Afghan rapist; there’s also cases of units handing out Article-15s for things as frivolous as going 5 mph over on the highway; looking on sites such as ArmyWTFMoments it’s easy to find examples of ludicrous instances of discipline.
Conversely, we all know of soldiers still in the military who always seem to have something other than being a solider to do; these guys can’t pass tape, a BRM exam, a PT test, or have had their Article-15 paperwork “lost” somewhere.
Sure, the Army does what’s right when they kick out guys with 3 or 4 DUIs, or who have stolen Army property, but there’s no shortage of instances where soldiers being separated is more harmful to the Army then beneficial.
Again some units seem to get off on handing out punishment for anything they can, of course these specific punishments aren’t the reason for chapter, usually however the fact that these soldiers now have an Article-15 makes them a target in the eyes big Army.
We should be looking at soldiers on a more case-by-case basis and at their ability to be soldiers as opposed to a blurb about them on some piece of paper.
The fact of the matter is it’s highly unlikely that given a fat-body who can’t even qualify with his weapon and a soldier with an impeccable service record except for an Article-15 for having drove a little too fast on the highway that the Pentagon would rather keep the fat guy.
Personally, I don’t even see why we’re downsizing at all given the rising tensions in the Middle East, it seems likely that we will again have a presence there.