At some point last year, concerned about losing armed forces personnel (active and reserve) as enlistments lapsed, Donald Rumsfeld issued a "stop loss" order. What this did, in effect, was prevent those enlistments from ending as scheduled. Servicemen and women couldn't leave the service if they wanted to. I've been there - it's called "extended at and for the convenience of the government".
Late developments will most certainly not help retention rates going forward:
By Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — A decision by the Pentagon to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq is a reversal of its plan to steadily reduce the U.S. force level there.
Since the war began a year ago, senior military leaders have given frequent assurances to troops and their families that Iraq duty would be no longer than a year.
Now, those assurances have met the reality of Iraq, where military leaders are planning for the possibility that anti-U.S. violence will spread. U.S. troops are stretched thin around the world, and the Pentagon has few options to increase the force in Iraq if necessary.
On Monday, a senior official with U.S. Central Command said that the return home of about 24,000 U.S. troops who were scheduled to leave in the next few weeks would be delayed as their replacements arrive. Central Command's responsibility includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With the 24,000 remaining and others who have arrived as intended replacements, there are 134,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.
The senior official spoke to reporters at the Pentagon by phone from Central Command in Tampa. He gave the briefing on the condition that he not be identified.