For thousands of career-military troops who endured combat and family separations during a dozen years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the end of hostilities brings a new directive from the government — your services are no longer needed.
Even as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday that future budget reductions cut “so deep, so quickly, that we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough,” pink slips were already on their way to soldiers.
In its first effort to thin the ranks under budget pressure, the Army is letting 3,000 G.I.s go in order to thin ranks to 490,000 by the end of next year.
Female soldiers will be able to apply to all combat roles in the Army starting this year, as part of the military’s efforts to integrate more women into closed units, the defense ministry said Thursday.
The Army will allow all female soldiers and noncommissioned officers to apply for artillery and armored units and air defense forces in a bid to lower the gender barrier.
Of the few women who do want to serve in combat, the vast majority want to ride a helicopter, not hump a ruck and sleep with her heads in the mud. That’s not too surprising. It isn’t difficult to recruit helicopter crews among men, either.
Only a small fraction of Army women say they’d like to move into one of the newly opening combat jobs, but those few who do say they want a job that takes them right into the heart of battle, according to preliminary results from a survey of the service’s nearly 170,000 women.
Less than 8 percent of Army women who responded to the survey said they wanted a combat job. Of those, an overwhelming number said they’d like to be a Night Stalker – a member of the elite special operations helicopter crews who perhaps are best known for flying the Navy SEALS into Osama bin Laden’s compound in 2011.
So, here is the winning formula for warfighting in the 21st century.
1) Shrink the Army by barring experienced combat veterans from reenlisting.
2) Fill combat roles with unenthusiastic women.
4) Win wars!