I was wondering if some of you who are serving in the military (or have served) might have some thoughts about this article. Of course, anyone else with thoughts about this subject are certainly welcome to discuss this....I don't know much about official stop/loss policies in the military that postpone retirements, but I'm wondering if this article is an indication that we need to consider raising troop strength limits or instituting a draft again.
I kinda thought this article was a bit heavy on the interviews with soldiers who are upset or resigned with the stop/loss orders, but maybe some of you have some ideas about this issue or have encountered this in your own military service.
I just retired from the Air Force in August and was VERY close to getting hit by Stop Loss. What the article fails to mention is that it's made perfectly clear in all enlistment contracts that Stop Loss is a distinct possibility. In times of unforeseen conflict, when troop strength is stretched too thin, the services need to have a tool to keep their operational numbers workable. If the services didn't have Stop Loss as a tool they wouldn't be able to keep the country safe. Also, I find the numbers in the article very unlikely. To say the Army has a Congressionally mandated cap of 20,000 and now has 500,000 on the payroll is absurde. If you reverse the numbers and say the cap is 500,000 and the Army has 20,000 over that I'd have an easier time believing the article.
Thanks for your insight about this - I wondered how this was constructed in a volunteer army without being included in the contract to begin with, so what you are saying makes complete sense here. I thought the article was interesting from the standpoint that I never thought about those clauses in a volunteer military or if there are different expectations than when we are in a conflict (like Vietnam) where a draft was used to fill manpower needs.
I think the article said the military had gone over their limit BY 20,000...meaning Congress apparently had set manpower numbers at 480,000...and it's now 500,000. It would seem to me that since we have military operations in unexpected areas like Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress would automatically allow for raising that limit anyway.
I thought the article was kinda heavy on the interviews with soldiers who were unhappy about being forced to remain in service - but it did make me wonder whether we should be thinking about adding fresh numbers, especially since training today seems to be a much more complex, more technical undertaking. If we are getting spread to the point where National Guard forces are being sent overseas, that makes me feel a little more nervous about our preparedness.