Actually, the Army Will 'Involuntarily Separate' Officers

Soldiers patrol near Kunduz, Afghanistan in 2013. Soldiers patrol near Kunduz, Afghanistan in 2013. Defense Department file photo

The Army will in fact lay off at least 2,000 officers to reach its end force goals, a spokesman clarified Wednesday.

Government Executive reported on Tuesday that contrary to previous stories, the Army would not have to force anyone out of the service. A spokesman said the Army would instead rely on retirements and fewer enlistments to meet any personnel reduction mandates.

Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt, a second Army spokesman, said on Wednesday the Army will use “involuntary separation boards” to cut the number of soldiers in the force. The boards will determine where the number of soldiers exceeds future force requirements, based on grade and skill, and make the corresponding cuts.

Platt added the Army will rely on naturally occurring retirements and separations to reduce the service’s footprint, but attrition alone will not be enough.

“We look at all the tools we have,” Platt said, adding it is “probably a safe assumption…we will continue to look at involuntary separation boards for a while.”

Currently, just captains and majors are eligible for the cuts, a pool of about 19,000, Platt said, though that pool could grow to higher ranking officers.

Troy Rolan, the original Army spokesman, said on Wednesday he intended to suggest the Army had not yet made final plans, and that involuntary separation was “not the only method” the service would use.

Platt said the force outs have already begun. 

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