The U.S. Army has identified hundreds of senior noncommissioned officers for involuntary separation as the service advances toward reducing 80,000 soldiers from its ranks by 2018.
The number of senior NCOs identified for separation under the Army’s Qualitative Service Program has increased by more than 310 percent over last year’s figures.
During fiscal 2013, the Army identified 160 active-duty and Army Reserve senior NCOs for separation under the program. In contrast, this fiscal year’s numbers have topped 506 for the same demographic.
“Although every effort is made to minimize denial of continued service to quality NCOs, the Army can no longer retain soldiers in over-strength skills as we improve grade and [military occupational specialty],” Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, deputy chief of staff for personnel, said in an email to the force.
“These Soldiers are otherwise fully qualified for continued service and their selection by this force shaping process in no way diminishes their contributions to the Army,” Bromberg said.
The Army instituted its QSP in 2012 in an effort to identify a number of senior noncommissioned officers for possible separation to retain the best NCOs with the greatest potential for continued service, according to an Army statement.
Although this year’s numbers are big, next year’s may be much higher. Bromberg warned in his email that in fiscal 2015 the Army expects to identify 1,000 for QSP separations. That equates to more than a 520 percent increase over figures for fiscal 2013.
Affected senior NCOs have until the first day of the 12th month from notification to separate, which Bromberg said allows families to take advantage of transition assistance programs.
Bromberg emphasized the importance of keeping leaders engaged in the process and treating those who must leave with dignity and respect.
“Our actions must coincide and be consistent with what we say — we take care of our own,” he said.
Under a separate initiative, the Army will soon identify as many as 2,000 active duty officers to cut through separation and early retirement. Those personnel, however, won’t have to leave the service until at least early 2015, according to an Army announcement in December.
Roughly 19,000 officers — all captains and majors — have already been notified of their eligibility for Officer Separation and Enhanced Selective Early Retirement Boards, the first of which is scheduled to convene March 4.
U.S. Army Europe this week posted a news release reminding officers affected by the boards to review and certify their personnel records and official photo through the Human Resources Command website, hrc.army.mil.
Officers with less than 15 years of service who are selected for separation will receive separation pay. Those with more than 15 years but less than 18 years of service may receive separation pay, but may opt to apply for Temporary Early Retirement Authority, according to the Army’s December announcement.
Officers selected for early retirement by the eSERB are entitled to serve until their 20th year but can also apply to retire early under TERA.