Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26

Thread: Officer Shortage Looming in Army

  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    3,989

    Default Officer Shortage Looming in Army

    Officer Shortage Looming in Army - USA Today.

    The Army, forced by five years of war to expand its ranks, faces a critical shortage of midlevel officers, interviews and military records show.

    Those officers -- majors and lieutenant colonels -- manage troops at war. The Army estimates it has about 13,900 majors and 8,750 lieutenant colonels this year. It expects to have an annual shortage of 3,000 such officers through 2013 as it increases its ranks by 40,000 soldiers.

    Beyond the shortage of midlevel officers looms an impending shortage of entry-level officers -- lieutenants -- from the U.S. Military Academy and university Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs. Last year, 846 cadets graduated from West Point; the goal was 900. There were 25,100 enrolled in ROTC out of a goal of 31,000, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress' investigative agency.

    Only an increase in soldiers put through the Army's Officer Candidate School allowed the service to meet its goal for lieutenants, the report said. The school is a 14-week course that obligates graduates to two years in the Army. It is expected to reach capacity this year, the GAO said...

  2. #2
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wherever my stuff is
    Posts
    823

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    If I don't make it BZ now I'm going to cry....

  3. #3
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Belly of the beast
    Posts
    2,112

    Default

    Shortages mean more promotions and opportunity? Or, is it volunteer now at great risk and get demoted in four years when the RIF comes?
    Sam Liles
    Selil Blog
    Don't forget to duck Secret Squirrel
    The scholarship of teaching and learning results in equal hatred from latte leftists and cappuccino conservatives.
    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

  4. #4
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,169

    Default Officer's already too junior

    Remember when the Company Commander was the old man? Now he is young enough to be the 1st SGT's son (always was younger than Top, but the age difference now is considerable). We accelerated promotions as a retention tool, instead of promoting on a proven development time line. Albeit we have a lot of exceptional officers that can serve at a higher rank sooner, but we are doing them and the Army a disservice when we promote them too quickly. I wonder what the second order effects of this looming officer shortage will be? Maybe we reduce West Point to a 3 year school? Maybe RTK's scheduled BZ look will be his PZ look, and his BZ look will be a year earlier, like the Army just did with their Warrant Officers to "correct" their Senior Warrant Officer shortage and keep junior WO's in? Do you have an experienced Senior Warrant, or just a junior guy wearing senior rank? This isn't sour grapes, but a realization after watching this for a few years that it takes time to produce a professionally mature Senior Officer or Warrant Officer, and short cuts degrade the force.

    The military has made a large investment in training these officers and needs to find ways to retain them, but I hope there are other options rather than excelerated promotions. It takes an act of Congress to get their base pay raised (pay a CPT what a MAJ currently makes, and so forth up the food chain), but I think that is better option for the good of the force. It also seems the article was a little harsh on OCS, and I wonder if that is the class conflict from the self annointed long gray line graduates, but I have seen many fine officers come out of OCS, and if we need to increase input by pushing harder for our Strategic Corporals to become officers, then we should do so.

    Times are tough for younger combat leaders, especially if they're married, and there is no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. These smart, driven, and educated officers have other options. We need cures, not band aides.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 03-13-2007 at 01:32 AM.

  5. #5
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Wonderland
    Posts
    1,284

    Default

    I second Bill's post. It is ironic that the midlevel shortage now could've been filled by not having the "get the hell out of my army" bloodbath of Year groups 86-90 commissionees. All because the Army is wedded to the idiotic "Up or Out" promotion philosophy.

    Today, it is 36 months to CPT. And we are taking these officers who know fundamentally nothing and making them company commanders and staff officers and expect them to take on complex missions. And they are failing, yet we cover it over, and call it success, and a bunch of them are leaving, not because of deployment, necessarily, but because they know the Army will consistently put them in a position to fail.

  6. #6
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Accerated promotion etc

    When I went on active duty in 1969, I went in as a 1LT having delayed entry for grad school. 12 moths later I was a CPT. My contemproaries who entered as 2LTs were 1LTs in 12 montha and CPTs 12 months later - 24 months to CPT. In wartime promotions always accelerate and decelerate in peacetime. This is not to say it is a good thing, just that it always happens and could be worse.

  7. #7
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,188

    Default

    I think this situation will be exacerbated by an increase in domestic spending over Defense spending, the traditional venue and philosophy of Democrats who now control both the Senate and the House. I think the writing is on the wall for everyone to see.

  8. #8
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Morning Calm
    Posts
    177

    Default

    A big part of the problem were poor personnel choices made in the second half of the 1990's. For those of you hailing OCS, well because of promotion timelines, OCS guys have to be pretty need only 2 to 3 semesters to get their degree because of the laws on promotion to Captain. This excludes a huge chunk of the force. So, I would favor incresing the green to gold slots. The bigger issue were continued options to leave the service early following the big RIF of the early 1990's. That is why we have a shortage in the field grade ranks. In 1996,97,98,99; you could still leave active duty after two years and go into the ARNG as a combat arms guy. Due to a varity of reasons, a lot of people took the option. The economy was a big part of it. Another key factor was the basic training headache, a lot of guys who were coming out of Korea got sent to be basic training XO's as fall out from the Aberdeen drill sergeant case. So here are a bunch of lieutenant who have their initial training and a 1 year of line time in Korea, thinking they are going to get their choice of follow on assignments from Korea, and instead they got sent to Jackson, Benning, Knox, and Sill. Some guys liked it, for a lot of officers, it made the choice easy. As far as age goes. I was a 29 year old Infantry company commander. My 1SG was 28. There are alot of "young" senior NCO's out there. My old 1SG was a BN CSM at 31 going on 32, and he had no special ops time.

  9. #9
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Wonderland
    Posts
    1,284

    Default

    The recent LTC board, where I got selected, they were calling MAJs, by phone, and begging them to update their packets etc. One woman called me three times trying to talk to me personally, and gave me a sales pitch as to the benefits of promotion to LTC.

    WTF????

  10. #10
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rocky Mtn Empire
    Posts
    473

    Default

    Although I do not have the maturity of John F., either chronologically or psychologically, I did live through the era he described. Ironically, some of the folks leaving the Army in the early 70s left because prospects of rapid advancement had died with the end of the war. We're probably better off without them.

    Back then, there were multiple OCS courses and 3 Infantry-only classes in progress at any given time at Benning. Then came the bloodletting of the 70s RIFs. As a 2LT, I had several former captains working for me! Then by the time I got to the advanced course, ten percent of my class were active duty recalls.

    In short, the stability and continuity of the 80s and 90s was probably an anomoly.

  11. #11
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    Posts
    3,989

    Default Army Rushes to Promote its Officers

    More from today's Boston Globe - Army Rushes to Promote its Officers.

    To fill a growing number of vacancies in the officer corps, the Army is promoting captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels more quickly and at a higher percentage than before the Iraq war, a trend that some military specialists worry is lowering the overall quality of the officer corps.

    The Army, already stretched thin from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, attributes the accelerated promotion rates to the pressures of war and the urgent need for field commanders. Another reason for the vacancies, military analysts say: unit leaders are quitting the Army faster than anticipated -- after multiple tours of duty in Iraq. The shortage of captains, majors, and lieutenant colonels is especially pronounced among experienced officers who have between five and 15 years in uniform, according to Army officials.

    In 2006, the Army had to promote more officers ahead of its own timetables, according to the most recent statistics. For example, the Army had a goal of promoting about 70 percent of eligible majors to the next rank of lieutenant colonel; instead, it promoted 90 percent of them to fill the vacuum. The same year, the Army advanced nearly all of its captains to majors, roughly 20 percent more than its guidelines call for.

    Along with fast-tracked promotions, the Army is keeping underachieving officers instead of forcing them to retire, according to the latest data...

  12. #12
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rancho La Espada, Blanchard, OK
    Posts
    1,065

    Default Old, mature, huh...?

    Old Eagle--

    You must think I'm positively ancient! Well, I'll tell you that I just figured out what I wnnabe when I grow up - a COWBOY. And I'm well on my way to achieving my goal out here on Rancho La Espada in the heart of Oklahoma.

    Bottom line is that there are many reasons for officer shortages and accelerated promotions. Many are unintended consequences of the good intentions that pave the road to hell. Still, not all unintended consequences are bad...

  13. #13
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Morning Calm
    Posts
    177

    Default

    120mm,

    HRC is not making that kind of sales pitch on the active side. They will tell you, but when board time comes, if your file isn't current, you probably are not going to make it. But, hey that is the active side.

  14. #14
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,188

    Default

    Democrats of recent times seem to favor more spending on domestic agendas than Defense. I see no indications this trend will reverse itself given the steady drum beat to cut and run from Iraq. My .02 worth says the attrition problem will probably get worse.

  15. #15
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    FDNY
    Posts
    27

    Default

    As a 2LT chomping at the bit to drop the dreaded 'butterbar' stigma, I dream of an accelerated promotion - but I know that I have a lot to learn yet. My first impression of the Army was promotions were/are too quick. I came over from the USMC side as a Sgt., and automatically assumed that all indivduals wearing three stripes had been around at least a hitch ( ~4 yrs) or so. I have found that is not the case, as I have met numerous soldiers with only 3 yrs in that are E-5. They have a lot of potential, but not the TIG/TIS, to really know what is going on. I wonder if the current promotions in the officer corps won't follow a similiar path.

  16. #16
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wherever my stuff is
    Posts
    823

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dusty View Post
    As a 2LT chomping at the bit to drop the dreaded 'butterbar' stigma, I dream of an accelerated promotion - but I know that I have a lot to learn yet. My first impression of the Army was promotions were/are too quick. I came over from the USMC side as a Sgt., and automatically assumed that all indivduals wearing three stripes had been around at least a hitch ( ~4 yrs) or so. I have found that is not the case, as I have met numerous soldiers with only 3 yrs in that are E-5. They have a lot of potential, but not the TIG/TIS, to really know what is going on. I wonder if the current promotions in the officer corps won't follow a similiar path.
    Enjoy your time as a platoon leader and hang on for dear life. What happens after that will happen in due course.

    It's more aggrevating being BQ'd for two years before you even get your BZ look.

  17. #17
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    The Land of The Morning Calm
    Posts
    177

    Default

    RTK and Dusty,

    Here is a perspective from where I sit. I am came up just as the timelines were changing. So RTK, that would put me in the cohort as your Troop commander during your Iraq rotation (I commanded a Company down the banana belt at that time, had a blue guidon) The concern that my peers have, defined as junior majors, is the level of experience and skills that the younger officers are getting, especially the platoon leaders. As a LT, I held four jobs, rifle PL, S-1, Rifle XO, and BMO. Many of my peers held similar type jobs, the key is we all had around four jobs, but at least three, with over a year as a PL. The concern we have is that as you guys promote, that there will be more discovery learning within the BN staffs. the guys you will deal with who are going to be BN S-3's and XO's are going to know that you guys haven't had as much expereince outside of KD job, but intellectually, it is very hard for many to remember that when push comes to shove, that juniro captain who is the S-4 might have only been a rifle PL and a scout PL, and that you as an XO will have to spend a little more time mentoring these Captains. RTK, I don't know what they haveyou doing at Knox, but BZ is a weird animal, don't get wrapped up in it, it is as much about who you as what know and what you have done. RTK, you ought to look at doing the MiTT thing. Dusty enjoy your PL time, it is unique and rewrding experience that only comes around once, make the most of it. Just some thoughts guys.

  18. #18
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Rocky Mtn Empire
    Posts
    473

    Default

    Two years in grade as a 2LT turned out to be a godsend. I was in a "learn fast or die" environment, so I tried to catch on as quickly as possible. Our infantry company had two lieutenants assigned -- the 1lt was the CO and I was the utility platoon leader (1st Plt was technically mine, but if other platoons (incl mortars) needed a platoon leader due to regulatory requirements, I was it. When the 1LT PCSed, I was asked to assume command. Luckily, an infantry advanced course flushed on us and we got in enough CPTs to handle command. The result of all this was that when I was able to accomplish myriad missions, people were in awe. Once I was promoted, everyone just expected me to be competent. Glad it worked that way and not the other way around!

  19. #19
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Wherever my stuff is
    Posts
    823

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    RTK and Dusty,

    Here is a perspective from where I sit. I am came up just as the timelines were changing. So RTK, that would put me in the cohort as your Troop commander during your Iraq rotation (I commanded a Company down the banana belt at that time, had a blue guidon) The concern that my peers have, defined as junior majors, is the level of experience and skills that the younger officers are getting, especially the platoon leaders. As a LT, I held four jobs, rifle PL, S-1, Rifle XO, and BMO. Many of my peers held similar type jobs, the key is we all had around four jobs, but at least three, with over a year as a PL. The concern we have is that as you guys promote, that there will be more discovery learning within the BN staffs. the guys you will deal with who are going to be BN S-3's and XO's are going to know that you guys haven't had as much expereince outside of KD job, but intellectually, it is very hard for many to remember that when push comes to shove, that juniro captain who is the S-4 might have only been a rifle PL and a scout PL, and that you as an XO will have to spend a little more time mentoring these Captains. RTK, I don't know what they haveyou doing at Knox, but BZ is a weird animal, don't get wrapped up in it, it is as much about who you as what know and what you have done. RTK, you ought to look at doing the MiTT thing. Dusty enjoy your PL time, it is unique and rewrding experience that only comes around once, make the most of it. Just some thoughts guys.

    Believe it or not, I tried for anything deployable after command, to include MiTT. They told me after 25 of 36 months away with both PL and Troop Command time in Iraq it was time to train LTs at the basic course. I'm here until I hit 24 months on station (which is 15 months, 9 days, 10 hours, and 18 minutes away ). Either way, my next job out of here is a major billet, one way or the other, KD or not. If I can't get an S3 job (which I've been requested for and need branch to sign off on) I'm going for a MiTT assignment. The unit requesting me already knows their window, and the SCO is already requesting me by name. We'll see what happens. Until then, I get to playing the waiting game and teach tactics in BOLC III as an SGI.

  20. #20
    Council Member Hippasus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Ft Hood, TX
    Posts
    10

    Default Perhaps more waste than shortage....

    After spending some time at a corps level staff to remain unnamed, I would say that we do not have a shortage of mid-level officers so much as we have created too many positions in bloated staffs. We have too many folks working on worthless projects for too many GOs rather than in units. Perhaps if we were to eliminate some of these, in my view unnecessary, HQs, we could man the part of the Army that really matters...

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •