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Sources: Officer, enlisted force-outs to increase

Jul. 29, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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The officer corps may not have seen the last of the involuntary separation and early retirement boards that so far have cut short the careers of some 1,700 Regular Army captains and majors.

Pentagon sources said that as the Army moves deeper into a drawdown that could reduce the size of the active component by 74,000 soldiers over the next five years, the number of force-outs among officers and enlisted soldiers will increase beyond the levels seen so far.

The most recent cuts involved 1,188 captains and 550 majors of the Army Competitive Category.

These officers, members of year groups 1999 through 2003 for majors, and 2006 through 2008 for captains, were selected for involuntary separation, and in some cases early retirement, by boards that met in March and April.

The officers will be released from active duty next spring, unless they opt to leave service earlier.

Last year the Army also screened several hundred senior field-grade officers for retention, which resulted in the involuntary early retirement of 103 colonels and 136 lieutenant colonels.

Involuntary separation boards also have been at work on the NCO corps, and have resulted in the release or early retirement of 160 staff sergeants and above in 2012 and 506 in 2013 because they were assigned to military occupational specialties that are projected to become overstrength as the Army gets smaller.

The same culling process, called the Qualitative Service Program, is being used this year in conjunction with senior NCO promotion boards, and is expected to result in the involuntary separation or early retirement of 880 soldiers.

Sources said QSP reviews will be used in conjunction with the fiscal 2015 master sergeant board that convenes in February, the sergeant first class board in June and the sergeant major board in September.

Within the officer corps, there will be a selective early retirement board for colonels that meets in November, and will include Army Competitive Category O-6s with dates off rank of Aug. 2, 2008, through Nov. 12, 2014.

Pentagon officials indicated that senior leaders have not yet determined if captain and major separation and enhanced selective early retirement boards will be held in 2015.

However, if such boards are approved for selected year groups, they would meet in February, with separations and retirements occurring in 2016.

Under a temporary waiver of federal law in effect for the drawdown, involuntary separations and requirements occur no later than the first day of the 10th month following the approval of board results by the secretary of the Army.

The Army drawdown is on schedule to reach 510,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2014 on Sept. 30.

As of late July, active component manning stood at 513,800 soldiers, which is 16,700 fewer than on Oct. 1, the beginning of fiscal 2014.

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