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Reply #50: Army Stop-Loss Program Forces 50,000 into Extended Duty - a back-door draft ! [View All]

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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-16-08 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #46
50. Army Stop-Loss Program Forces 50,000 into Extended Duty - a back-door draft !
Edited on Wed Apr-16-08 08:25 AM by Breeze54
Army expanding 'stop loss' order to keep soldiers from leaving

Posted 1/5/2004 9:45 PM Updated 1/6/2004 12:39 AM

By Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON The Army will announce as early as Tuesday new orders that will forbid thousands of soldiers from leaving the service after they return this year from Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in the war against terrorism, defense officials said Monday.

The "stop loss" orders mean personnel who could otherwise leave the military when their volunteer commitments expire will be forced to remain to the end of their overseas deployments and up to another 90 days after they come home. "Stop movement" orders also bar soldiers from moving to new assignments during the restricted period. The orders do not extend any unit's stay overseas.

Although the orders cover all the approximately 160,000 returning troops, the Army said it estimates only about 7,000 of the returnees will have their time in the service involuntarily extended. Most deployed soldiers are not affected because they have service obligations that extend beyond their current deployments, Army Col. Elton Manske, chief of the Army's Enlisted Division, said Monday.

"This decision is really being driven by the readiness of units and the absolute intent to keep the units themselves intact down to as low as the squad and crew level, so we are assured of putting the best fighting force on the battlefield," Manske said.

Army officials also said Monday that the service is offering re-enlistment bonuses of up to $10,000 to soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Soldiers currently in those countries and replacements could receive $5,000 to $10,000 for enlisting for at least three years of additional Army service.

The latest stop-loss orders will be announced after Congress is briefed and affected Army units are informed, defense officials said. The new orders are an expansion of similar orders imposed Nov. 13 on more than 110,000 active duty soldiers whose units are preparing to go to Iraq and Afghanistan between now and May. They represent the first major changing of the guard in Iraq since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations May 1.

"The use of stop loss is often an indication of a shortfall of available personnel," says Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, a think tank based in Arlington, Va.

The Army's commitments include about 130,000 troops in Iraq, 11,000 in Kuwait, 11,500 in Afghanistan, 37,500 in South Korea and 44,000 in Japan.

Congress first gave stop-loss authority to the military after the Vietnam War, when the Pentagon faced difficulty in replacing departing combat soldiers. The Pentagon didn't use the authority until 1990, during the buildup to the Persian Gulf War. All four service branches have issued stop-loss orders since then. The Pentagon issued stop- loss orders in November 2002 for Reserve and National Guard units activated for the war against terrorism. The orders remain in effect. A stop loss was issued for active troops in February 2003, but rescinded in May 2003.

Contributing: Wire reports

Army Stop-Loss Program Forces 50,000 into Extended Duty /

James Joyner | Monday, January 30, 2006

The AP has discovered the Armys Stop-Loss policy, which is hardly news to those who have been paying attention. The sheer scope of the program might be somewhat surprising, however.

The U.S. Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers to continue serving after their voluntary stints ended under a policy called stop-loss, but while some dispute its fairness, court challenges have fallen flat. The policy applies to soldiers in units due to deploy for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The Army said stop-loss is vital to maintain units that are cohesive and ready to fight. But some experts said it shows how badly the Army is stretched and could further complicate efforts to attract new recruits.

As the war in Iraq drags on, the Army is accumulating a collection of problems that cumulatively could call into question the viability of an all-volunteer force, said defense analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute think tank. When a service has to repeatedly resort to compelling the retention of people who want to leave, youre edging away from the whole notion of volunteerism.

When soldiers enlist, they sign a contract to serve for a certain number of years, and know precisely when their service obligation ends so they can return to civilian life. But stop-loss allows the Army, mindful of having fully manned units, to keep soldiers on the verge of leaving the military. Under the policy, soldiers who normally would leave when their commitments expire must remain in the Army, starting 90 days before their unit is scheduled to depart, through the end of their deployment and up to another 90 days after returning to their home base.

Congressional critics have assailed stop-loss, and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry called it a back-door draft. The United States abolished the draft in 1973, but the all-volunteer military never before has been tested by a protracted war.

A report commissioned by the Pentagon called stop-loss a short-term fix enabling the Army to meet ongoing troop deployment requirements, but said such policies risk breaking the force as recruitment and retention problems mount. It was written by Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer. Thompson added, The persistent use of stop-loss underscores the fact that the war-fighting burden is being carried by a handful of soldiers while the vast majority of citizens incur no sacrifice at all.

Stop-loss certainly does undermine the voluntary nature of military service and it is no doubt unfair to force those who have already sacrificed to give even more. There is, however, no ready alternative. Sending units to war shorthanded or with last-minute replacements is too big a risk.

Further, there are two categories of people involved: those who have completed their entire service obligation and thos who have not. While soldiers enlist for periods of two, three, or four years of active duty, all thereby commit to eight years of total service. During ordinary circumstances, those remaining years can be served in the Reserve Component, including the non-drilling Individual Ready Reserve. While unfortunate, forcing those who still have several years obligation to stay on active duty is not a back-door draft.

The Army has, however, tried to stop-loss people in beyond their eight years. That is unconscionable in an all-volunteer force.

Elsewhere: Backdoor Draft? TCS, 11 January 2005.

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