Peace Time: January 15, 2005

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Leaked memos revealed a battle within the U.S. Army to eliminate customs and traditions  that provided pay and benefits for thousands of politically well connected officers, and protection from being called up for active service, especially in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The army has refused to call up thousands of needed reserve troops, as it is allowed to do, and has instead relied on volunteers for activation. To encourage the activation, the reserves offer cash bonuses. But army units complain that many of these volunteers have less skill and experience than the reservists who dont volunteer, and are just doing it for the money (because their active duty military pay is more than what they make in their civilian job.) The well connected reservists complained to their Congressional representatives when they got called up, so the army backed off on calling up people who didnt volunteer. There was also a problem with 16,000 reserve troops who, while picking up $46 million a year in benefits, were refusing to meet their service obligations. Political pressure prevents these slackers from being expelled from the reserves. The generals running the 200,000 strong army reserve find themselves butting heads with the people running the army, as well as people in Congress who dont want a lot of pressure from well placed constituents who are in the reserves, or know someone who is. The army reserve was long a place where well educated men, who had picked up an army officers commission early in life, was able to keep that commission alive, just in case. For many of these reservists, going to Iraq is not the case they had in mind.

 


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