Looks like it's not just the USAF making cuts. From the Army Times
Tighter promotion opportunities and stronger up-or-out rules may loom as the Army seeks to cut the force by tens of thousands of soldiers.
The Army is already laying the groundwork for a smaller active-duty force by launching two major personnel management initiatives. One reduces the recruitment goal for the active component to 67,000 this fiscal year. That goal is down from 74,500 for 2010; 70,045 for 2009; and 80,000 annually for 2006-08.
It also puts the brakes on a decade-long growth spurt to support the deployment and rotation demands of the war on terrorism.
The recruiting campaign was complemented by the most robust and expensive retention and re-enlistment effort in Army history.
Until October, retention programs generated 60,000 to 70,000 re-enlistments annually at costs ranging from $200 million to more than $700 million for 2005-10.
The second initiative is to tighten re-enlistment and eligibility windows to align with specific, priority manpower requirements. That move prepares the Army to trim the temporary 22,000-soldier surge that began in 2009.
Under policies now in effect, active-component soldiers are eligible to re-enlist only if their term of service expires on or before Sept. 30, 2012. The small eligibility window is designed to generate 45,000 re-enlistments during the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
That is a considerably smaller mission than in 2010, when the Army re-enlisted 60,000 active-duty soldiers, and enrolled 8,100 others in the Deployment Extension Incentive Pay program that pays up to $500 per month to regular Army short-timers who agree to stay with their units through deployment.
In addition to accessions, here are some other options the Army may adopt to stabilize and then reduce the size of the force, as proposed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Jan. 6:
• Reduce maximum service limits for enlisted soldiers by strengthening “up-or-out” restrictions for some ranks.
Changes to the tenure ceiling, also called retention control points, were eased in 2008, but Pentagon officials said those changes are not set in stone and could be tightened as the Army downsizes.
Retention control points generally require that enlisted soldiers be promoted to a certain grade before reaching the tenure limit for that grade. For example, sergeants must be placed on a promotion list to E-6, or be promoted to staff sergeant or higher, by the time they reach 20 years of service.
Under those 2008 changes to the control points, the tenure ceiling for most sergeants major was increased from 30 to 32 years of service; for master sergeants and promotable sergeants first class from 26 to 29 years, for sergeants first class from 24 to 26 years; for promotable staff sergeants from 24 to 26 years, and for staff sergeants from 22 to 23 years.
• A tightening of selection rates and promotion points for officers also could signal a drawdown.
In that regard, the Army Competitive Category, Nurse Corps, Medical Service Corps and Medical Specialist Corps first lieutenants selected by the captain boards that met in early December will be promoted at 39 months of service, rather than the 36 months of service that has been the standard recently for O-3 management.
The goal is to reach a 42-month pin-on in fiscal 2012, according to the Pentagon’s Office of the G-1.
The Army began shortening the wait for advancement to captain in fiscal 2003, just as the service launched a major campaign to grow the size of the active component.
The rapid increase in the size of the Army, as well as the reorganization of maneuver forces in modular units, generated a shortage of some 5,000 captain and majors. Those shortages largely have dissipated, which means the select rate for those grades — which have been running in excess of 90 percent — could start to slip below those record levels.
• The Army has used voluntary incentives as separation methods. Those were commonly available during the 1990s drawdown and the mini-reductions of the past few years conducted by the Air Force and Navy.
These programs were targeted at certain specialties and year groups, and included the Voluntary Separation Incentive (a modified annuity), the Special Separation Benefit (a lump-sum bonus) and the Temporary Early Retirement Authority.
At the senior end of the rank structure, the Army has applied Selective Early Retirement Boards, which required the involuntary release of certain lieutenant colonels and colonels.