Hate to Say I Told You So . . . .

| August 25, 2013

The Army has announced that more than 20 central boards meeting next year will also consider soldiers for involuntary separation, according to the Army Times.

All senior NCO promotion boards meeting next year will also serve as QSP/QMP screening boards.  For those unfamiliar with the difference:  the Army’s QSP (Qualitative Service Program) is intended to reduce senior NCO populations in over-strength MOS, while the QMP (Quality Management Program) is a program that targets senior NCOs with derogatory information in their personnel files for termination of service.  This means that every E6, E7, and E8 being screened for promotion next year will also be screened for involuntary termination or forced early retirement.

The article doesn’t specifically address officer selection boards.  However, traditionally officer promotion boards are also used to screen records on a “show cause for retention” basis.  I’m guessing that the O3, O4, O5, and O6 boards are the others not named in the article that bring the total to “more than 20”.  However, I could easily be wrong.

This is nothing new, and this should be no surprise.  The same thing happened during the Bush(41) and Clinton administrations.  (I’m guessing it happened after Vietnam and during the Carter administration as well, but I can’t say for sure from personal knowledge.)  Hell, some QMP boards occurred during the last couple of years of the Reagan administration.

I’m guessing the other three services are all doing something similar.

Welcome back to the Peacetime Army.  Bless Our House It’s Christmas Almost”.

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Big Army, Disposable Warriors

Comments (29)

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  1. Richard says:

    I separated from active duty March 1976. I do not recall this level of detail but I recall the attitude and the talk. Most NCOs E-6 and above were unhappy and looking forward to years of low-budget no-training garrison duty while trying to lead draftees — we talked about this a lot. the Army was deeply unappreciated by the civilian population. If I stayed on I would be a senior E-5 or a new E-6 competing with senior E-6 and E-7s for positions. The Army did not offer me a future. I made my decision in 1975 and didn’t bother to board for E-6. My oldest son, currently a SSG in Afghanistan, plans to separate in 2014 after 8 years.

  2. Sig says:

    I have 10 years in the NG, over 9 on active duty. I could manage to hang onto orders indefinitely until I hit sanctuary and get an active duty retirement, doing what I’m doing now.

    But why? Every day brings new asinine requirements, new mandatory training, new blocks to check, and our purpose grows murkier and murkier. I will have to have a post-Army career regardless–even assuming there’s still an active duty retirement at 20 by then, not a sure thing–so it is starting to make a lot more sense to start that career now and go back to regular Guard status. Only dealing with the BS one weekend a month sounds pretty good, and I’m still available if needed.

    I’m trying to figure out what I want to do; the last time I worked in IT, Windows XP was the new hotness. I’ve got some time to do it how I want, so I’m using it. I imagine we’ll see growth in mid-grade NCOs coming over from Active who don’t want to deal with it any longer, but still want a hand in the game.

  3. K.J. Hinton says:

    They used the promotion point scam to get rid of people: every single E-4 and E-5 in the unit I commanded (postal) was promotable. All had been boarded, all had been approved… none had the points. (71LF5 Postal clerk.)

    So, they either kick you out outright, or run the points required up to 998. The outcome, ultimately, is the same.

  4. CC Senor says:

    As a dependent I got to witness the RIF of 57. As a soldier I got to witness any number of RIFs and i’m not sure which was worse, wondering if I could continue to make the cut (I did) or having to tell a SSG with 14 years he didn’t.

  5. Ptolemy in Egypt says:

    No doubt. When I was a LT/platoon leader back in the mid-90’s QMP was an established part of the lexicon. Then, post-9/11- bupkus about QMP. Funny how that works.

    In fact, until I just read this post, hadn’t thought of it in years, when one of my best 19K E-5 (a tank commander to boot) got the boot because of a mistake of youthful indiscretion involving a more senior NCO and a punch to the mouth. The Army lost a terrific soldier and tanker by doing that, and even the letter I staffed all the way up to brigade commander arguing on his behalf swayed the faceless board that punted him without so much as a “thank you”. Eddie Mo…if you’re reading this- I’m sorry I failed you- my best effort just wasn’t enough.

    I could very well be one of those “no longer value added” 0-5s they show the door real soon. I’m not 6-foot-1, 180 pounds nor do I have a patron out there to keep me off the chopping block.

    Come to think of it- maybe that’s for the best. The more I think about all the time my understrength M1A1 platoon spent on red cycle cutting grass and pulling bullshit details and all the time we did *NOT* spend in the field honing our tactics and maintenance (under adverse conditions) skills, maybe a boot in the ass before all the Reindeer Games come back is not such a bad thing after all…

  6. Nik says:

    I’m reminded of phrase that talks about closing the barn door after all the horses have already gotten out. Reducing to peacetime type levels before the peace is won seems exactly that.

  7. Wrench Monkey says:

    BOHICA indeed.

  8. Brian says:

    Having lived through the 1990’s drawdown…. this year won’t be to bad, they’ll focus on the low hanging fruit (multi-DUI/Fatasses/4-5 blocked people)…….. Next years though….. if enough haven’t retired look out…..

  9. Roger in Republic says:

    About 1974/75 we(USCG) got a large number Navy E-5’s and E-6’s that were PNA’d.(Passed, Not Advanced. They all had more than enough time in service for promotion but the Navy was trying to slim down. At the time you could make E-6 in four and E-7 in six, depending on MOS. These Navy guys all got promoted on their first try. Of course so did most of the Coasties. Retention of first termers was a big problem so we had plenty of room for them. Remember, these guys were not RIF’ed, they left the navy because it quit promoting. The outcome was the same, they reduced the force through the back door. When you do it that way you are loosing good people and keeping a lot of dead wood. I never trusted anyone who was happy to spend five or six years as a second class PO. I liked my troops to have more ambition than that.

    PS In the main, the squids we absorbed were pretty good sailors.

  10. fm2176 says:

    I should be one of those NCOs who feel secure, but I don’t. I’m not the svelte young Infantryman I once was, but I make tape, pass PT tests, have decent (if not outstanding) NCOERs, and no history of UCMJ or civil convictions. At the same time, though, I’ll hit seven years as a SSG shortly after the next senior NCO board convenes, and it’s been a while since I was last on the line. Going where the Army and the unit “needs” me hasn’t helped.

    Just a couple of years ago I was looking forward to seeing where the Army took me, and remained open-minded to serving well past the twenty-year mark. Now, I plan to be moving on in the next nine years–either retiring at twenty or being shown the door sooner than that. My Soldiers will always come first, but I’m no longer concerned with progressing to the highest levels in today’s Army. As soon as I finish my Bachelor’s next year I plan to enroll in a graduate program, while continuing to enhance my marketability in other areas as well.

    I came to the realization a few years ago that it isn’t the rank that matters, it’s how much you have to offer as a leader and as a Soldier. In eight years I’ll be ready to retire, hopefully with an MBA and other credentials that can be applied to the outside world. Unless something major changes in my life or philosophy in that time I don’t plan to be one of those who is tempted by an extra E-grade or a higher percentage of retirement in exchange for a few more years.

  11. NavyChief says:

    Navy’s been doing this for a couple of years.

  12. Just an Old Dog says:

    The “up or out program” has always fluctuated in it’s intensity. The main bitch I have about it is that is more often driven by budget then by a desire to make the forces more effective. You have “good” servicemen and women in overcrowded MOSs being shown the door because they weren’t “great” and shitbags being retained because they have a small MOS.
    That being said, while the Marine Corps scared away or separated a lot of good 1st term enlistees in the early 90s they did use it to get rid of some pretty sad sack 9 Year Sergeant (E-5s) and totally incompetent SSgt (E-6) types, as well as ROAD E-7s and above around the 20 year mark.

  13. Ex-PH2 says:

    Nothing new here. Same old, same old. If there’s no ‘crisis’ going on, you get dumped, until there’s a new ‘crisis’ and then they’re only TOO happy to have you back or show up again.

  14. TN says:

    If we were returning to a “peacetime” sized military, we’d be adding to the number of those in boots. The military added nearly none (a few tens of thousands) to the gutted Clinton era size.

    Yes, the combat Warriors will be first on the chopping block; those that have risked all, have probably gotten caught risking something the brass doesn’t like. It happened in the Clinton years. It’ll happen this time: desk jockeys with pristine papers will be promoted, and Warrior Leaders with a mar on their record will be sent to the unemployment lines.

  15. 21Zulu says:

    I attended an HRC brief a few weeks ago at Ft Bragg. The COL and CSM stated that QSP and QMP were in fact coming. Most soldiers who fall under QSP will be encouraged to reclassify into a shortage MOS. The only thing holding most of them back is a low GT score. Anyone with a 110 or higher should have no problem reclassing. They are also bringing back the 15 year retirement to help thin the ranks without having to resort to more drastic means.

    QMP will be used very sparingly to get rid of those that really need to go and are retirement eligible (I’m sure we all know NCOs that should qualify).

    The CSM also stated that the Army will be forced to cut a lot more soldiers than what is currently being stated in public releases. Somewhere around 410,000 end strength by 2015.

  16. Hondo says:

    TN: might want to check your figures, amigo.

    Army end strength, end of FY 2001 (last Clinton budget year) was 480,801. Army end strength, end of Mar 2011 (latest data I can find quickly) was 570,719.

    By my math, that’s an increase of almost 90,000 since just after 9/11. In other words: yes, there have been Army troop increases during the GWOT – significant increases.


  17. Sailor says:

    The toxic culture of protective careerism makes staying in hardly worth it anyway. But then these boards always get rid of too many people in certain MOSs and ratings, and the services find themselves quickly advancing people, not all of whom should be advanced to positions of higher responsibility.

  18. Lucky says:

    I am up for SFC next month in the Reserve, luckily, there are not enough 38B SFC’s in the Reserve…

  19. Ex-PH2 says:

    There may be a move underway to cut back on excess numbers in specific areas by using early retirement, etc., but when this occurred last time (early in Bush II after Clinton), there was a crisis that required recalling people who had left and been gone for some time.

    I’ve had a feeling for some time now that this is what is going to happen, so don’t give up yet.

  20. Twist says:

    The first QSP board was right after the last E-7/E-8 boards. This will be the second one.

  21. NHSparky says:

    I remember the “peace dividend” of the early-mid 90s. What TPTB in the Navy never figured out was that by fucking over everyone, they fucked themselves worse, because the mid-career professionals they’d end up needing would be leaving in droves (and they did–I was one of them.) Talking to the guys who stayed in or were up and coming pretty much validated what we already knew–it took an undermanned rating and made it even worse. Sure, getting to E-6 was pretty much automatic, but what then?

    At the time, it took me nearly 8 years of sea duty to get to RECRUITING, which was a “good deal” by nuke standards. I knew that if I had stayed in, it might be another 6-8 years before I saw shore duty again, and with as few E-7’s they were rating at the time (E-7 selection percentage in my NEC was under 5 percent per year) I might well have been retiring as a PO1.

    And to think that now it’s worse.

  22. Lucky says:

    My fingers are crossed here guys and gals… I am 29, passed all of my APFTs, have 11 years and a deployment each to OEF/OIF, was the BDE NCO rep for the CACOM Best Warrior Competition, did a month as an OC/T at NTC, and worked for a year with a PFC that was flagged for popping a urinalysis 5 years ago, turned him around, got his flag removed (Thank you USASOC Surgeon Cell) and promoted him to SPC earlier this month. Also, got a seriously stellar NCOER as well. I only need to complete SSD 3, UGH! Hopefully that will not stand in my way…

  23. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @21 At some point in all of that the dreaded private sector starts to look really, really good…..

  24. NHSparky says:

    Yeah, just not right now. We’re going through a 10 percent RIF as we speak.

    All hail the Obamanation!

    Recovery summer, my fucking ass.

  25. David says:

    In general, upper management, military and civilian, seems to think “we’ll let attrition get rid of the dull thuds and we will retain the best and the brightest” – what actually happens is that the best and the brightest see the writing on the wall and get the hell out of Dodge, leaving senior dull thuds to run the show. At which point nothing works well any more… since all your vital functions are now being run by the folks you had hoped would never do so.

  26. NHSparky says:

    So the end result? We get a touchy-feely bunch of ri-tards led by clones of recently-retired SGM “No Slack” King.

    And how many will pay the price the next time someone decides to get froggy?

  27. fm2176 says:

    Lucky #22,

    A close friend of mine whom I served with in Iraq finally made SFC last year as a 38B. He’s done a tour as a Drill Sergeant and also earned his Ranger Tab (he’s the same battle buddy who got booted from Air Assault for negative points years ago–so obviously he’s turned around 180).

    I’ve been considering a reclass from 11B myself. The GT score isn’t a problem, but TIG and TIG is for many MOS’. I was considering 51C but they are looking for SSGs with 6-8 years TIS right now. I may still submit a packet, though.

    Today’s Infantry branch seems to want to promote Ranger qualified and multiple tour veterans over those of us who have more to offer than line company experience alone. We’ll see how the promotion board goes next year–as a college senior and with this tour behind me I’m hoping for the best, but who knows in today’s Army.

  28. Lucky says:

    @ FM2176, its a great job, I’ve done it Reserve side, and its been a blast, aside from dealing with the CAPOC bullshit

  29. redleg says:

    QMP is here. Most notices were already delivered and few are exempt from consideration. Overage O5 and O6s are also in throes of the SERB (Selective Early Retirement Board)— 70% retention rate. I have had a good career with 26 in and the Army does this after every major conflict. I said screw it and am competing so I can get to 26 commissioned, and my brother in law (an O6) is competing too. I made every 70% board from 1989 on in so I don’t see the difference—don’t worry, survive the cuts and HRC will realize they cut too much in 3-5 years and they will be begging you to re-up.