Maj. Gen. Sean J. Byrne addressed other topics during the briefing and in an interview with Stars and Stripes:

On re-enlistment bonuses and the effect of the economy on retention:

"I don’t think we’re seeing an influx of people staying in because of the economy," he said. "The economics of staying in are very good, but most are staying in because they love what they are doing."

Byrne also said that in the current economy, the era of hefty retention bonus regardless of one’s military occupational specialty has become a thing of the past.

"Retention for a lot of years has meant giving people money," he said. "The money’s not there this year."

On officer shortages:

The Army is short roughly 4,000 officers in the ranks of captain and major, he said.

"As the Army has grown, we bring in privates and second lieutenants, not captains, majors and sergeants first class," he said. "So we’re going to have to grow that force."

For the first time, last year the Army offered retention bonuses to some captains. However, Byrne said he does not foresee that bonus returning in the future.

The number of captains will increase over a shorter period of time as the rate of attrition among captains is not high and the Army promotes more lieutenants, but he said that it will take longer to increase the number of majors, as it takes longer for officers to rise to that rank.

On deployment equity:

"We have the capability to track anyone in the Army through their pay and to see who is drawing combat pay," said Byrne, explaining that there is still a small percentage of soldiers who have yet to deploy.

About 87 percent of the Army has deployed, are preparing to deploy, are still in their initial training or are nonavailable, he said.

Although the Army is tracking down soldiers who may have slipped through the cracks, there are challenges to the process, Byrne said.

"There are all kinds of opportunities for lower-ranking officers and enlisted soldiers to deploy," he said, adding that finding available slots for more senior soldiers is more challenging and that they often have to schedule individual taskings.

"If we wanted to go back to the [Vietnam-era] individual replacement system those numbers would jump, but I don’t think we want to do that."

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