Peace Time: July 21, 2001


The U.S. Army is having increasing problems keeping junior officers and experienced NCOs in the service. The main problem is the poor discipline of new troops (because of lowered basic training standards) and an atmosphere of "zero defects." The junior officers and NCOs who have to deal with on a daily basis are deciding that it's not worth the hassle. So they are getting out. The shortage is showing up at the vast number of army schools that trains soldiers in hundreds of different skills. The NCO schools are complaining that they are getting more newly promoted NCOs who are not really NCO material. The brass is trying to solve the NCO shortage by just promoting whoever is next in line for promotion, without regard for the candidates suitability for these crucial leadership posts. This is creating a vicious cycle, as the capable NCOs have to work harder to do the jobs many of the new NCOs can't do. For most of the 1990s, the "zero defects" attitude has forced more junior officers to do the supervisory jobs NCOs have traditionally performed. This has overworked the junior officers. So the good are getting out and more of what's left won't be able to do the job if shooting starts. 


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