[Marxism] The New Army -- Court Martial or Promotion

Brian Shannon brian_shannon at verizon.net
Mon Jan 30 08:05:20 MST 2006


Army's Rising Promotion Rate Called Ominous

By Mark Mazzetti, LA Times Staff Writer, January 30, 2006

WASHINGTON — Struggling to retain enough officers to lead its forces,  
the Army has begun to dramatically increase the number of soldiers it  
promotes, raising fears within the service that wartime strains are  
diluting the quality of the officer corps.

Last year, the Army promoted 97% of all eligible captains to the rank  
of major, Pentagon data show. That was up from a historical average  
of 70% to 80%. . . .
The service also promoted 86% of eligible majors to the rank of  
lieutenant colonel in 2005, up from the historical average of 65% to  
75%.

The higher rates of promotion are part of efforts to fill new slots  
created by an Army reorganization and to compensate for officers who  
are resigning from the service, many after multiple rotations to Iraq.

The promotion rates "are much higher than they have been in the past  
because we need more officers than we did before," said Lt. Col.  
Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman.
. . .
"The problem here is that you're not knocking off the bottom 20%,"  
said a high-ranking Army officer at the Pentagon. "Basically, if you  
haven't been court-martialed, you're going to be promoted to major."

. . . Army officials say the primary cause of the jump in promotions  
is the service's ongoing effort to create more combat units without  
an overall expansion. The Army hopes to increase the number of active- 
duty combat brigades from 33 to 42 over the next several years by  
cutting headquarters staff and transferring soldiers from support  
jobs into frontline combat positions.

The push to fill the new units means that more officers are being  
promoted, officials say. In addition, they say the military's  
deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have improved the overall quality  
of the Army's officer corps.
. . .
"The most precious thing in the military is our talent and not our  
technology," said retired Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, who traveled  
to Iraq and Afghanistan last year to assess the state of the U.S.  
military missions in the countries. "What we don't want to do is come  
out of [these wars] and lose what we lost after Vietnam."

The departure of Army officers in those years created what many  
military historians have called a "hollow force."
. . .
"The demands for Army ground-force deployments in Afghanistan and  
Iraq are not likely to decline substantially any time soon," said the  
report by retired Army Lt. Col. Andrew F. Krepinevich of the Center  
for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The service "risks having  
many of its soldiers decide that a military career is too arduous or  
too risky an occupation for them and their families to pursue."

. . . the Army has begun a series of initiatives to keep young  
officers in its ranks, including a program that pays graduate school  
tuition for those who agree to sign up for more years of military  
service.

Krepinevich, in his study, warned of other "storm clouds on the  
horizon" for the Army, including the rise in divorce rates for active- 
duty soldiers. . . . "Are our professional commitments as soldiers  
out of whack with our family and personal lives for these troopers? I  
mean, certainly they are," said Army Col. H.R. McMaster, commander of  
the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment that serves in Iraq's restive Al  
Anbar province. "But you know, it's wartime, and our troopers  
understand it."

FULL AT
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