The Bayonet

Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2014

Army supports transitioning Soldiers in midst of drawdown

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ARLINGTON, Va. - As mandated by Congress, the Army is continuing to draw down its end-strength to 490,000 active-component Soldiers by the end of Fiscal Year 2015. As part of the incremental and deliberate approach, the Army will notify roughly 500 majors over the next month that they must leave the service as the result of the decision of recent Officer Separation Boards and Enhanced Selective Retirement Boards.

Given the Army has some 60,000 Soldiers forward deployed on any given day, it is unavoidable that a number of Soldiers chosen for separation will be serving overseas, including Afghanistan. This is a particularly challenging time and, as such, the Army has instituted a process by which these Soldiers will be notified.

The first general officer in the individual's chain of command will notify each officer in person; the same manner in which roughly 1,100 captains were notified earlier this summer. Also, Officers serving in Afghanistan, or other overseas areas, will be returned to the United States within 30 days of their notification to begin their transition from active duty and ensure they have the maximum time and resources available for a successful transition.

The Army leadership recognizes its solemn responsibility to best ensure a smooth transition for officers and noncommissioned officers. Accordingly, a number of programs have been developed to provide Soldiers opportunities and options as they prepare to return to civilian life. For example:

• Encouraging Soldiers to continue their military service by joining the Army National Guard or Army Reserve;

• Shifting Gears, a partnership between the Army, Raytheon and General Motors which will enable transitioning Soldiers to receive training and eventually be placed in service technician positions at GM dealerships.

• In August the Army will hold its third Transition Summit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. These summits are conducted jointly, on military installations, with the National Chamber of Commerce Foundation's "Hiring Our Heroes" office and the Army's Soldier for Life program with participation by senior representatives of the Department of Labor and Department of Veterans Affairs. The goal of these summits is to improve competitive employment for transitioning Soldiers and veterans.

These are a few of the opportunities available to Soldiers to assist in transition to civilian life. Additionally, many installations conduct a variety of Soldier for Life programs and host transition workshops partnering with various industries to assist transitioning Soldiers with finding jobs throughout the United States and accessing valuable resources to set them up for success in their post-Army career.

These cuts will reduce the Army to an end strength of 490,000 by the end of 2015. In addition, as a result of future budget restrictions previously passed by Congress, the active Army will further reduce its end-strength by 20,000 Soldiers in both 2016 and 2017.

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