Army Drawdown: What Current Officers Need to Know

Everyone (still serving) is talking about the Army drawdown… will it be reminiscent of the Clinton-era personnel cuts?  How many will be cut?  Who is at risk?

There was a great article published in The Army Times about this very topic, and it specifically addressed how these changes will affect the Army’s officers, and possibly their career futures.  As a former human resources officer, I’ve been fielding frequent questions/concerns from friends over these upcoming changes.

Most of the cuts are going to come from the enlisted side.  They are the largest, and so they contain a lot of the folks that will be eliminated by misconduct, overweight/PT failure, tenure rules, etc.  But that doesn’t mean the officers are safe.

Promotions are going to be tougher.  It used to seem like a pulse and an APFT could get you promoted.  Now, there have been adjustments to evaluations and boards to ensure the best officers get promoted and the others get passed over.  And after being passed over enough times, that leads to involuntary separation, the Army’s version of a pink slip.  Mostly this seems to apply to senior Majors, where the selection to higher ranks is more exclusive, but the lower ranks should pay attention too.  My father was a senior Major when the 1990’s cuts were happening, and my entire family was affected.  Being an Army officer used to mean job security until retirement, but as the needs of the Army change, so do its ranks.

I don’t think anyone should hit the panic button yet.  It’s too early, and all changes take time.  But if you’re on the fence about staying in, take this into consideration.  And don’t slack off on the job; your performance is of ever-increasing importance!

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