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Pink Slips Planned--in U.S. Army

 

The Chief of Staff of the Army says that as many as two thousand junior officers may get pink slips by the end of this year as the Army deals with downsizing due to the ending of combat operations in Afghanistan.

 

  Gen. Raymond Odierno also warned during a San Antonio stop that the coming cuts will hit the San Antonio Army presence and will 'affect every installation' where there are troops, both in the U.S. and abroad.

 

  "There will be reductions everywhere in the Army," he said.  "As you reduce the size of the Army, you reduce the support structure.  We will try to do it in the right way, and we are still looking at the best way to do that.  We might take some reductions in our medical capability, nothing will be untouched.  When you take 150,000 people out of the active component, you cut 35,000 people out of the National Guard, it is going to impact many things."

 

  But most troubling are plans to cut hundreds of junior officers.


  Gen. Ray Odierno told 1200 WOAI news at Ft. Sam Houston following a ceremony awarding a Purple Heart to a solider who was wounded in Afghanistan that fewer soldiers will need fewer officers to lead them.

 

  "In fact, probably this year we will ask 1500 captains to leave the service, and we will ask probably 400 to 500 majors to leave the service," Odierno said.  "That is because we have to get down to the appropriate size."

 

  The Army had previously denied there were any plans to force anybody out, maintaining that the service could deal with the necessary reductions through natural attrition.

 

  Odierno says most of the officers who will be let go have served 'honorably and heroically on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he conceded that cutting them will be difficult.

 

  "We will do this based on performance, we want to keep the best," he said.  "I appreciate their service, these are tough times, we have to reduce."

 

  He says those who are asked to leave will receive 'help to transition' through the 'Soldier for Life program.'

 

  "We are also forming public private partnerships that will help them transition to the private sector," Odierno said.

 

  The General said the planned cut of the Army to 490,000 active duty soldiers, which he says will be reached by the end of 2015, will not prevent the service from carrying out it's current missions, but he is worried that additional cuts may be contemplated.

 

  "The problem is, that may not be where it stops," he said.  "Depending on the decisions of Congress, we could get as small as 420,000 in the active component, and we may be forced to reduce the National Guard to 315,000, the Army Reserve to 185,000.  At that level, we will not be able to implement our current defense strategy, and I believe that we would put at risk our ability even to do one prolonged multi phase campaign, that is concerning to me."

 

  He also warned that the coming cuts will 'affect every installation' where there are troops, both in the U.S. and abroad.

 

  "There will be reductions everywhere in the Army," he said.  "As you reduce the size of the Army, you reduce the support structure.  We will try to do it in the right way, and we are still looking at the best way to do that.  We might take some reductions in our medical capability, nothing will be untouched.  When you take 150,000 people out of the active component, you cut 35,000 people out of the National Guard, it is going to impact many things."

 

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