Peace Time: May 27, 2002

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Despite the desperate need for reservists with essential skills, the Department of Defense is giving itself a hard time holding on to the people it wants to keep. One policy that particularly aggravates the reservists is calling up a unit and then sending members of the unit in different directions to make up for personnel shortages. This is the old "breaking up the unit for replacements" routine often used in wartime. But when it is applied to, say, an intelligence unit, the individuals are unhappy about being separated from the people they have trained and served with so they can be sent off to fill in for a shortage somewhere else. While this is of short term benefit to the military, the ability to get those reservists to stay in after the current crises does way down. This was not as much of a problem during the 1991 Gulf War, because all the fighting was going on in the same place. But the War on Terrorism is happening all over the place, and intelligence people are in particularly high demand, and particularly scarce. Something has to give, and it will probably be the very existence of some units as it's members terms of service expire and they don't sign up for continued service. 

 


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