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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps has enacted a stop-loss policy, which was effective Tuesday, that affects all Marines, regardless of their military occupational specialty.

"The reason is because of current deployment orders and the Marines involved in those deployments," said Marine Lt. Col. Brian Byrne, enlisted plans section head for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

"We needed to stabilize personnel levels in our units and one of the ways to stabilize is through stop-move and stop-loss policies. This will apply to all MOSs equally," Byrne said.

The Army quietly put out a "stop movement" order of its own around Christmas that affects select units, who "know who they are," Army officials confirmed Tuesday.

The policy could affect roughly 14,000 Marines who thought they would be separating or retiring in the near future. The policy affects Marines with separation dates after Jan. 15, and those who have an approved retirement date of after April 1.

There are exceptions, which aren't spelled out, because for the first time, general officers will have latitude in determining whether a Marine should continue service, Byrne said.

"Now they can go look at the individual Marine and determine if it is in the best interest of the Marine Corps and the country to keep you. The general officer can say 'I need your skills and you're going to stay.'

"There are circumstances in which keeping them would be a bad thing for service, such as a physical disability or a medical problem that would prevent them from being able to participate," Byrne said. The leaders also can take into account "humanitarian reasons," such as a sick child at home, he added.

The Corps also enacted a stop-move policy, meaning those who have received permanent change of station, or PCS, orders. Those Marines won't be able to make those moves. The two exceptions are those with PCS orders to a joint duty station or to a special duty assignment, Byrne said.

The Navy rescinded its stop-loss policy in August, and has no stop-move policy.

The Air Force rescinded all stop-loss in June, and has no stop-movement policy, according to Air Force spokeswoman Valerie Burkes.

The Army

The Army order affects "active component units — and they know who they are — supporting a certain operational plan," Maj. Steve Stover said in a telephone interview.

"Soldiers for those units will not be going anywhere" until the order is rescinded or the plan executed, whichever comes first, Stover said.

Army troops in the Pacific, in particular those soldiers assigned to Korea as part of the 2nd Infantry Division, probably won't be affected by the stop movement order, because the Army has a long-standing, though unwritten, policy that keeps those soldiers in place no matter what else is happening around the globe.Stover declined to say how many soldiers are affected by the order, which doesn't keep people from retiring or leaving the service at their scheduled time, but does prevent PCS moves.


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