Sunday, March 02, 2014


Reduction in Force.  It's not a new concept, nor the first time I've seen this ploy trotted out.  It is tough being in the military, and it's tougher when the military goes through a draw-down, yet it's an historical phenomenon and it's painful when it happens.  I see these families struggling with the same problems I've dealt with in the past.
"There are a lot of people in the military who joined to make it a career," she told "We understand that there needs to be cuts, but please don’t forget there are people's livelihoods behind all of these proposals. We're not okay with cuts that feel arbitrary and cuts that break promises that were made when we joined."
Yeah, it's tough, but one thing that is a dead-certainty in the military is that one day, they'll tell you it's over.  Whether you're enlisted or an officer, one day it's over.  For some that comes with retirement, with others it comes at the end of enlistment, with yet another subset, it comes with a letter telling you that you won't be retained.  Either way it comes, it comes.

I live through a RIF in 1976, during the Carter presidency.  The Army decided that it didn't need a whole lot of helicopter pilots because we were no longer embroiled in a big war with lots of helicopters.  Those guys who had joined up to fly, and had no interest in command, were left hanging.  I lived through another RIF during the Clinton years, when the government decided that the Red Threat was no longer a threat and we could live with a smaller military.

In times where there is a perception that we don't need a large military (or when the needs of the services changes) normally under a Democratic president, the military shrinks.  The hard part for many of us was that the criteria for retention was set by bureaucrats to meet the needs of bureaucrats and those service members who met the criteria are retained, while those who don't meet the criteria are released.  Often, it seems that the bureaucrats stay in the service and the war-fighters are released.  Such is the nature of a peace-time military.

It sucks, but it isn't anything new.


Rivrdog said...

I was riffed in '84 when the USAF had too many Navigators because of having replaced all those F-4s, ehich used navigators in the back seat, with F-15s, which had no back seat until a few years later with the F-15E. I was still needed in the B52, but the Wind Force broke out personnel management by career field, not by air command necessity. Out I went.

mostly cajun said...

I lost one of the best company commanders I ever encountered in the post-Viet Nam RIF. He was a captain, Armor officer, and helicopter pilot running a training company in Fort Knox's 1st TNG BDE.

And to think of some of the bozos they kept...


Old NFO said...

Yep, bureaucrats not warfighters set the the criteria... nuff said...