Senior NCOs in the U.S. Army are finding that there is some fine print in their enlistment contracts when it comes to retirement. While most NCOs believe that they can just up and retire, at half pay, when they reach 20 years of service, it turns out that you have to serve 30 years to be able to retire at will. At 30 years, you retire at 75 percent pay. But in actuality, between 20 and 30 years, you can only request retirement. If the army turns you down, you can just not reenlist, leave the army, and lose your pension. So the army is going to take advantage of this little used feature of the retirement program, in order to keep experienced and skilled NCOs in uniform a little longer. While the United States is at war, war has not been declared. When war is declared, the military is allowed to keep people in uniform until the war is declared over. Or, as the saying goes, for the duration (of the war.) But the current Iraq and Afghanistan operations are putting most of the strain on the army, so ways must be found to encourage experienced troops to stick around until the demands on the army abate a bit. This is expected to happen when the operations in Iraq begin to wind down. This is expected to start happening in the next 12-24 months.