Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Lies, Damn Lies,

Army Expanding 'Stop-Loss'Program

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army will prevent soldiers in units set to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan from leaving the service at the end of their terms, a top general said Wednesday.

The announcement, an expansion of an Army program called "stop-loss," means that thousands of soldiers who had expected to retire or otherwise leave the military will have to stay on for the duration of their deployment to those combat zones.
Wow, that'll make a lot of Army wives (and husbands) happy.

The expansion affects units that are 90 days away or less from deploying, said Lt. Gen. Frank L. "Buster" Hagenbeck, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel. Commanders have the ability to make exceptions for soldiers with special circumstances; otherwise, soldiers won't be able to leave the service or transfer from their unit until they return to their home base after the deployment.
So, basically, if you're a soldier whose unit is scheduled to rotate to Iraq or Afghanistan in the next 3 months, regardless of whether you've been there before or not, you're going back. If you're in one of those units and the end of your obligation is coming up in the next week (or the next 6 months), you're going anyway.

The move will allow the Army to keep units together as they deploy, Hagenbeck said. Units with new recruits or recently transferred soldiers would not perform as well because the troops would not have had time to work together.
Give me a break. This has been going on since the beginning of military time. Old hands leave, even in the middle of war. New fodder comes on board. Any soldier / sailor / airman who is nearing completion of their obligation knows this - because they've already seen it hundreds of times.

The announcement comes as the Army is struggling to find fresh units to continue the occupation of Iraq. Almost every Army combat unit has faced or will face deployment there or in Afghanistan, and increased violence has forced the deployment of an additional 20,000 troops to the region, straining units even further.
Well, we've already raided the cookie jar in the Korean theatre - a few weeks back, several thousand troops were pulled out of Seoul and relocated to Baghdad. So I'd say we're already thin in staffing. Just wondering aloud - what happens if another brush fire flares in, say, Afghanistan?

Hagenbeck had no numbers on how many soldiers would be affected.

You know what? This is the kind of nonsensical bullshit that pisses me off. You know this lying weasel has the numbers right in front of him. You know that every reporter sitting in on this newsconference has a contact in the Pentagon that could pull out the number immediately. You know why Buster wouldn't give the number? Because it's large - very large - and would instantly ignite a firestorm in the military.

Intuitively, I have to think that the Army and Marines are already having a difficult time filling billets at the recruiting stations. The half-truths and bullshit that recruiters spin is bad enough in normal times. But then I run into statistics like these:

Fiscal Year 2004 Missions (The Fiscal Year is October through September.)
Active Army Mission -- 77,000
Army Reserve Mission -- 21,200

FY04 Year-to-Date Accomplishments (through April 2004)

We have recruited 41,467 Soldiers for the Active Army. We have over-achieved our year-to-date mission of 41,352 by 115 enlistments, which puts us at 100.3 percent for the year.

We have recruited 9,449 Soldiers for the Army Reserve, exceeding our year-to-date mission of 9,398 by 51. This puts the command at 100.5 percent for the year.
...and I don't know what to tell you. I guess it's easy to meet your goals when you've underestimated your needs by such a large margin. Hence the old saying, "there's lies, damn lies, and statistics".