MORE MILITARY WOES….The LA Times has yet another report indicating that the military is under considerable stress from the Iraq war. Junior officers are leaving the Army in record numbers, which means the only way to fill the more senior ranks is to promote practically everyone who’s eligible:
Last year, the Army promoted 97% of all eligible captains to the rank of major, Pentagon data show. That was up from a historical average of 70% to 80%.
….The service also promoted 86% of eligible majors to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 2005, up from the historical average of 65% to 75%.
….”The problem here is that you’re not knocking off the bottom 20%,” said a high-ranking Army officer at the Pentagon. “Basically, if you haven’t been court-martialed, you’re going to be promoted to major.”
….According to Army data, the portion of junior officers (lieutenants and captains) choosing to depart for civilian life rose last year to 8.6%, up from 6.3% in 2004. The attrition rate for majors rose to 7% last year, up from 6.4% in 2005. And the rate for lieutenant colonels was 13.7%, the highest in more than a decade.
It’s worth reading the whole article to get more of the context behind this, but I have to say that I’ve been surprised over the past couple of years to learn how fragile the Army apparently is. I wouldn’t have expected an occupation of 150,000 soldiers for three years to have caused as much stress as it has.