Army Cutting Nearly 4000 Captains and Majors
As we transition to a peacetime force, the Army is going to force some 4000 mid-career officers to retire early.
Army Times (“Army will cut almost 4,000 captains, majors–Early retirement, separation boards convene this spring“):
Almost 19,000 captains and majors will be screened by separation and early retirement boards this spring as part of the ongoing drawdown of the active-duty Army.
The Officer Separation Board and Enhanced Selective Early Retirement Board could select up to 20 percent of the considered population for separation from the Army — that’s about 3,800 people. However, not everyone in the group will have enough time in service to qualify for a 15-year retirement.
Officers subject to these boards are Army Competitive Category captains in year groups 2006 to 2008 and majors in year groups 1999 to 2003. Eligible officers must have at least one year active-duty time in grade and not be on a promotion list to the next rank.
More than 10,000 captains will be affected by the boards; about 9,700 will be screened by the OSB, which is for officers with fewer than 18 years of federal active service, and about 700 will be screened by the E-SERB, which is for soldiers with 18 or more years of federal active service, according to HRC.
Almost 8,500 majors will be affected by the boards. Of those, almost 7,000 will be looked at by the OSB, and about 1,500 will be screened by the E-SERB.
Officers with 18 or more years of service who are selected for separation will be allowed to serve until the first day of the first month of their 20th year of active federal service, earning them full retirement benefits, said Hillary Baxter, chief of the leader development division at HRC.
If these officers decide to leave active duty immediately, they will be offered Temporary Early Retirement Authority benefits, Baxter said.
TERA, which Congress authorized the military services to use as a force management program through fiscal 2018, allows troops with at least 15 but less than 20 years of active service to receive the same benefits as those who retire with 20 or more years of service, except that their retirement pay is reduced accordingly.
It’s tough to tell people who have faithfully and honorably served for more than a decade, many through multiple combat deployments, that their services are no longer required. But this approach is far better than the one applied in the post-Cold War drawdown, in which only those officers up for promotion were subject to involuntary separation. The result of that process was that many solid officers were shown the door while less-than-stellar officers from other year groups were not only retained but, because the force expanded again after 9/11, essentially guaranteed promotion through lieutenant colonel.
While still a blow to those who wished to continue serving, it’s softened considerably by the fact that these officers will be separated with either full or partial retirement benefits.