On October 21st, 2011, President Obama held a press conference, one of many actually, where he stated virtually all U.S. troops will come home from Iraq by the end of the year -- at which point he can declare an end to America's long and costly war in that Middle Eastern nation. (cnn.com, 2010) Over the past nine years, in order to even fight the War on Terrorism as previous President Bush once said, the military branches had to increase their fighting strength and with September 11th still fresh in most peoples' minds, this was not a difficult task. People from all walks of life and from every corner of the United States, were joining the service to help fight terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. While the Iraq war was going on, the world economy took a major hit which caused even more people to join the military services. So the influx of people wanting to join the service from the result of September 11th and the economic downturn has literally flooded the military services with more people than they have seen since the first Iraq war under Presidents George Bush Senior and Clinton.
Unfortunately, as with the completion of the first Iraq war, and as President Clinton downsized the military after that conflict, so too is President Obama downsizing now that our troops are coming home again. This downsizing, especially while the economy is still in the slumps, is affecting everyone. Not only is it affecting the people who are being sent home with the unemployment rate still high, but it is also affecting the people who are staying. I would like to point out here that this is almost an inevitable event that happens after every conflict, however the military needs to understand who exactly it is affecting, the proper way to approach this endeavor and what it will mean in the long run for the effectiveness of the US Military to handle future conflicts.
[...] At the same time, the enlisted personnel are also taking semi-annual advancement exams. If a person scores high enough on these written exams, along with performance evaluations and award points and a few other factors, that person will get promoted to the next rank. If selected by the ERB for dismissal, the only way a person would be allowed to stay in was if they got advanced to the next rank off the advancement exams. Just recently, both results of the ERB and the advancement exams arrived within a week of each other. [...]
[...] “Surprise and fear of the unknown” is now rampid along with a slight “Climate of mistrust” in that people do not know if they are being sent home or advanced until the results come out. There is also a “Loss of job security” which in turn is driving a “Fear of Failure” within the staff. People are trying even harder to have better evaluations and better test scores in hope that they do not get selected on the next ERB. While this does bring out the best in people, there are no guarantees. [...]
[...] Downsizing the military after a conflict is practically inevitable. With no more conflict(s) to fight or any future conflicts on the horizon, a reduction in force is practical. It reduces the amount of tax money being spent which I'm sure everyone would be thankful given our current debt crisis. However everyone, both military and civilian lawmakers, need to understand what a downsizing in military force means and who it affects. This particular downsizing, especially while the economy is still in the slumps, is affecting everyone. [...]
[...] (October 21, 2011). Obama: Iraq war will be over by year's end; troops coming home. In CNN US. Retrieved February from http://articles.cnn.com/2011-10-21/middleeast/world_meast_iraq-us- troops_1_iraq-war-operation-new-dawn-iraq-and-afghanistan- Kinicki, A., & Kreitner, R. (2009). Organizational Behavior: Key concepts, skills & best practices (customized 4th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin. [...]
[...] With the reduction of force now being implemented in the military, the military has done a fairly decent job at making sure those that are leaving are prepared for the transition, however not much emphasis is being placed on the service members who remain. For anyone who listens, reads or watches the news, conflict in the world is a constant. Congress, trying to balance the budget, reduces our military force after every conflict yet continues to task the military more and more. [...]
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