Wednesday, March 18, 2009

From the Washington Post: Stop loss

Army to Stop Extending Tours Beyond Service Obligations

By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 18, 2009; 3:42 PM

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced today that the Army will virtually eliminate the unpopular practice of "stop loss" -- or mandating that soldiers stay in the Army beyond their service obligation -- by March 2011 and will offer extra pay to soldiers whose service is extended under the policy.

About 13,000 soldiers are serving in the Army under the stop-loss policy, nearly double the number of two years ago. Gates said the goal is to reduce that number by 50 percent by June 2010 and to bring it down to scores or less by March 2011.

"I felt particularly in these numbers that it was breaking faith" to keep soldiers in the service after their end date comes up, Gates said. "To hold them against their will is just not the right thing to do," he said at a Pentagon press conference.

To achieve that, the Army Reserve will no longer mobilize units under stop-loss policy beginning in August, the Army National Guard in September, and the active duty Army by January 2010.

Gate said that the Army retains the authority to use stop loss under "extraordinary" circumstances. But he said that should only happen in an "emergency situation where we absolutely had to have somebody's skills for a specific limited period of time." Such decisions would be made by the secretary of the Army, he said.
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Effective this month, the Army will also pay soldiers who are under stop loss an extra $500 per month, and those payments will be retroactive until October 2008, when they were authorized by Congress, Gates said.

7 comments:

Infantry Dad said...

That is good news.
But, a couple of questions come to mind.
Will the powers to be honor those words.
They didn't the last time. Choosing rather to increase the numbers by 43%.

And, why weren't the soldiers getting the extra pay that was due them since 2008?

I'll believe it when I see it.

It is a ray of light tho!!

lolaberly said...

Steps in the right direction.. :)

lolaberly said...

I also saw this article and thought you'd appreciate it/be interested in it. I posted the full article on my blog as well.

Who are America's Real Heroes?
http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/2009/0309_moh/story.html

kbug said...

I'm glad to hear that they've decided to stop that. My middle son was detained by stop-loss years ago, not long after 9-11, but it actually turned out to be a good thing for him. He ended up re-enlisting for another 5 years and did 3 of those up in Alaska. Sometimes good things can come out of the bad.

Airborne dad said...

Loloberly,

Great story. Thanks for sharing.

ID,

I'll believe it when I see it too. All in all, I have found Sec. Gates to be a pretty straight shooter.

Kbug,

Me to. I don't have a problem with stop-loss on deployment. But when they are stateside and you extend someone (actually a whole brigade) for 19 months....that's not right.

Infantry Dad said...

Dad,
I like Secretary Gates also.
But will he have the schutspa to make the powers to be do what he says.
I found a PDF file of a document he sent to the Joint Chiefs of Staff requesting the derease in stop-loss numbers two years ago.
And requesting from congress the additional pay.
You know what happened to the numbers.
And although congress approved the additional pay, they never appropriated the funds to facilitate it.
Smells like saying the right thing and doing nothing.
Would our politicians do that?
Sorry to be so long, but one more thing.
I almost choked I was laughing so hard this morning when the three congressmen from Massachusetts were blasting AIG CEO Liddy about the bonuses he approved for the top officials in the company.
These three collectively wrote earmarks for special interest projects in Mass. totaling close to a billion dollars.
Which is more wrong?

Love Letters to the Middle East said...

I agree Infantry Dad. It all sounds so nice, so I hope it's not too good to be true. And even if they do decide to recall the Stop-Loss, when will it start being effective? 5 years from now? 3? 1?