According to an article published in yesterday's Washington Post, at least 10 Army Reserve officers are suing the Army after having their resignation requests denied even though they had fulfilled the requirements of their service contracts.
Click Here to read the full article.
Wow -- talk about a great way to really discourage people from joining up. I understand that the Army is facing a manpower crisis, even though they rarely admit to it, but holding officers in the service against their will (and against the terms of their contract), will only make the situation worse in the long run.
The controversy stems from a 2004 memo from the Army's commanding general, James Helmly, giving his official approval for all past and future resignation request denials. Helmley sites the "high tempo of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom" as the cause for these extraordinary measures.
Click Here for a pdf of the Helmly memo.
But wait, what about all those victorious press releases from the Defense Department, touting the recent military recruiting and retention successes? Wouldn't it seem that the Army has all the capable men and women it can handle? Hardly. Here's what Army spokesman Steve Stromvall had to say about the policy of holding officers in after the end of their contract: "I don't think during a time of war you would want to let people go when you have a shortage of people."
The Army has only met it's recruitment "goals" recently because those targets, and the standards for new recruits, were drastically reduced after months of embarassing shortfalls.
Now don't take this the wrong way -- i'm not trying to make an anti-recruiting statement. I'm only asking for a measure of candor from the Army, the Defense Department, and our leadership in Washington. It's time for an honest conversation about the state of our national security and what must be done to ensure that the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan don't stretch our military to the breaking point.