Thursday, March 6, 2008

For those of you who thought the IRR might be ramping down...


One of my numerous good friends named Chris just forwarded me this link. It would seem that the Army enjoyed last year's muster so much that they've--shocker of shockers--decided to throw another one!

Before I go on I should say how much I enjoy my current position, and that I believe I'm helping my team here make a significantly positive impact on the future of Afghans and Afghanistan. But that said, one wonders how long can this IRR stuff will continue. I mean, the stories you hear...

I had a very interesting chat this afternoon with a young Lieutenant who graduated Harvard in 2005 and has already been accepted to Harvard Law class of 2012 (should he decide to get out of the Army). This gentleman informed me that in 2005 they told his commissioning class to have backup plans. It would seem that the Army felt it had too many nascent LT's, and many would be asked to go to the reserves instead of active duty. This particular guy ended up going active anyways, but my question is this--how could they turn away willing active duty guys when they're recalling IRR people to fill slots elsewhere in the ranks?

Now, I fully appreciate that a brand new LT is not the same thing as a Captain with 4 or 5 years of experience (your typical IRR draftee). But let me tell you something--anyone can be Civil Affairs. I really think it's a branch like any other, not something that one has to come to later in their career as the traditional model dictates. There are already brand new 2LT's in the CAQC anyways, so why not shuffle some things around so that you utilize the manpower you have without panicing and hitting the IRR button.

So why doesn't the Army do this? The explanation I keep coming back to is that they choose to reward individuals who are voluntarily joining, while they push the burden onto those of us who had the audacity to quit. And this makes total sense from their perspective. People like me are already lost (or so they reason), so there aren't any drawbacks to alienating us through the IRR process. A brand new 2LT, on the other hand, still has their entire career in front of them. Piss them off now by sending them off to a CA gig that they really aren't interested in, and you risk pushing away someone who might have stayed in otherwise.

I honestly don't know where any of this leaves us, but all the same--good luck to all of you musterees out there. I wish you the best, and who knows? Maybe I'll see you here at the Forward Edge sooner or later...

7 comments:

Chris said...

All of this because we are supposedly in the midst of a "National Emergency."

The mismanagement of the officer personnel system has caused the shortage today. Unfortunately the remedy to the shortage only makes the problem worse. Brave patriots like Andrew, any many others, have to pay the price that the American public is not willing to pay in order to wage this war.

Mrs. Exnicios said...

I had a "discussion" with one of my FELP interns last summer. I questioned why the Army was choosing to take Combat Arms captains and send them to law school or business school for 2-3 years (removing them from the deployment and real functioning of the Army for that period of time) while people like my husband had to be recalled from civilian life. Clearly we both had different points of view on this, but I agree with Andrew. It is unfair to allow announce that the Army is so in need of Captains, but to mismanage those Captains on active duty so poorly. I hope it will come as no surprise to the Army when I choose not to muster for $190 next year.

Mrs. Exnicios said...

PS It should be FLEP and its Funded Legal Education Program - when the Army pays for active duty Army captains to go to law school. And pays them. So they go to law school. And draw a full salary while they are there. And are out of deployment schedule while they do. And then makes them JAGs.

Kevin said...

Hey if anyone is interesting in joining my IRR recall group on Facebook just do a search for "U.S. Army IRR recalls"---Kevin

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