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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army issued a formal stop-loss/ stop-movement order Thursday that affects all active-duty soldiers currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Stop-loss restrictions prevent servicemembers from retiring or leaving the service at their scheduled time, while stop movements prevent permanent changes of station (PCS) moves.

The stop loss/stop movement — the Army’s third such order since war in Iraq became imminent in January — was first reported Friday in the Los Angeles Times. An Army official told Stripes on Monday that the official order would be posted as early as this week, as soon as members of Congress had been notified of the planned action.

In fact, Acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee approved the order on Jan. 2, according to the official message. But the all-important “implementation guidance” that tells commanders precisely how the stop loss/stop movement will work was not posted on the Army’s personnel Web site until Thursday.

The stop loss includes all active-duty soldiers currently in Iraq, or “Operation Iraqi Freedom 1,” (OIF1) as Pentagon leaders call the rotation, as well as all active soldiers in Afghanistan who are assigned to “Operation Enduring Freedom 4,” (OEF4) the current rotation in that country.

Like previous unit stop loss/stop movements, the order is in effect for 90 days after a unit redeploys to its home station.

The new order, which is being characterized as an “expansion” of past stop losses, will “ensure personnel losses from the deployed [forces in Iraq and Afghanistan] caused by separations and PCS do not adversely affect force readiness and combat capability,” the message said.

Active soldiers who have already been under one of the Army’s previous stop losses, whether the unit stop loss imposed Feb. 3 and lifted May 3 or the 12-month, skills-based stop loss lifted in November, are also affected by this new order, the message said.

The new stop loss also “provides equity between components,” the message said — a sensitive subject for Army reserve and National Guard members, who have been under stop-loss/stop-movement provisions since last January.

All soldiers involved in the next rounds of deployments for Iraq (OIF2) and Afghanistan (OEF5), both active and reserves, already are under stop-loss/stop-move orders, which were issued Nov. 13.

To read the entire text of the stop-loss/stop-movement message, go to https://www.perscomonline.army.mil/index2.asp and click on MILPER msg 04-053.

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