Truth be told, I thought it would be towards the end of the year. Guess I was wrong. Remember my list of “things the military does to fix numbers?”
- Not kicking people out for physical fitness test failures
- Waiving darn near everything, from age to non-violent felonies
- Asking people to pretty-please stay around a few more years
- Opening OCS and other admissions
- Raising bonuses
- Make life better for officers
- Reduce opportunities to leave early
- Op-Hold people
Pepperidge Farm remembers too. That last bullet says OPHOLD, which means the military says “You know how we said we’d let you go? Yeah, about that…” Or, in meme form:
Now, while today’s story isn’t a true OPHOLD…it’s basically the same. The Army allowed officers that commissioned as aviators to serve two different requirements concurrently (as in, at the same time), then it said “actually, we meant to say consecutively,” and is now telling these officers they owe three more years of service. Up unitl that point, the Army’s HR department was telling officers that it was totally concurrent…until it wasn’t.
Previously, officials with Army Human Resources Command treated the flight school commitment as a contractual obligation, the letter said. That policy allowed officers to simultaneously serve it alongside their three-year branch of choice obligation and thus immediately resign six years after receiving their pilot’s wings, if they wished.From Army Times
“We went back and we did kind of audit all of those out there,” he said. The general cautioned that the service is still “refining” the number of officers, estimated at “a little over 600.” They now can’t leave immediately after finishing their flight school commitment.
Whoopsie! Our bad! Sorry to majorly screw up your life!
I’m sure plenty of HR officers will be disciplined for this…said no sane person ever.
Here’s the crux though…the Army needs these officers more than the officers need the Army. Aviation is a difficult skillset that can’t be easily acquired. The Army seems to believe it’ll just order these officers to fly and they’ll just fly. That’s a Communist way of thinking about it…we tell people what to do and they just do it.
In America, you have to compete for skills, and if someone doesn’t want to provide their skills, there is little you can do about it. I predict that we’ll see the following behaviors:
- A lot of aviators will smoke weed in the hopes of being kicked out. This, ironically, might make the Army legalize the substance.
- Plenty of officers will begin having “headaches” or other symptoms that stops them from flying. A few sharp officers will conveniently fly enough to stay off the radar, but do little else. The Army will either have to punish them, which could result in dismissal and them leaving when they wanted, or relax the medical rules and put expensive aircraft at risk.
No one will outright strike…that would be a stupid move. Instead, people will deny the Army the use of their skills, and the Army’s aviation effectiveness will drop. On paper, the Army will look OK, but the force will be hollow, and it’ll simply be a matter of time before the Army fails against one of our adversaries.
This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.