Army and talent retention

Marauder06

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I think that the data in the link you posted does not support your hypothesis.


As seen in Chapter IV with both the regression results, as well as with the survival
analysis, once conduct-waivered soldiers pass the one year point their attrition rates begin to
worsen and quickly surpass those of their non-waivered counterparts. I believe this is happening
because the soldiers are slowly being released from the controlled environment of basic training
and specialty training. As soldiers are granted more responsibility for their own actions, and no longer are under the watchful eye of the drill instructors, they seem to have the maneuverability to allow their past morally questionable lifestyles to once again affect their decision making. This in turn allows them to make errors of judgment that causes their attrition.
 

goon175

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USAREC invests a lot of money into how they craft their policies on enlistment. I seriously doubt that someone with a moral waiver has the same tendency for disciplinary action as someone with out when looking at it big picture over a period of time.
 

pardus

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If by lowering standards you mean passing folks from basic training that can't even pass a PT test, then yes I agree with you.

Ive seen this exact thing and many instances like it.
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There is no Army "standard" that is universally adhered to, just what individual commands are willing to enforce as a standard depending on their whim.
I would love to say it's a National Guard thing but it's not, I see it in active duty units as well.

As a result I see a shocking lack of discipline and unprofessionalism, that both embarrases and disgusts me, particularly when I wear the uniform now.
 

ThunderHorse

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I also saw the minimum ASVAB score for the Army in the 20s when I was in high school...I'd scored in the 90s and sure as hell wasn't enlisting, although if I hadn't spent five years in college (4 1/2) I might have gone down range a few more times than I have (0, but it's coming thank god).

In regards to waivers...they were everywhere from moral, to weight, to low asvab to not needing a GED. I mean if you don't want diplomas and decent SATs all you're going to get is dumb soldiers, along with possible problems. In regards to discipline...here at the Church, all the Marines give me the courtesies I've earned, however many of the support battalion NCOs and specialists seem to think it's a no salute zone when it is not. I'm not saying suck my you know what, I'm saying it shows a lack of good order and discipline amongst the ranks. But it's not just amongst the ranks, most of the ROTC kids are ok. Although, it seems the West Pointers don't know that they're not up in the little hideaway where they can act a fool without it being an issue, and I go: you went to a military college, apparently not.

Leaving here in a few weeks, so we'll see how it is in the Force.
 

Marine0311

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Marines leave for the same reasons. Some Marines are driven out by that special brand of USMC house bullshit. Getting out to keep your sanity, poor leaders, dumb leaders, shitbags, the unwillingly of senior brass to clean up problems with a big stick. The military in general is an institution that does not like to change.
 

Viper1

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I'll requote the book "Yellow Green Beret"; his take was most (if not all) of the Cadets were in it for the Free Education, and most make the decision to stay after betting commissioned.

My (non-WP take) is the Service academies have turned into giant frat/sorority houses. I worked for a guy (Kosovo) who was a professor at the AF Academy; I visited and was greatly disappointed with the lack of Military Bearing/Courtesy there. Annapolis had issues, and I have to think WP is just as bad.

I would almost like to see a Joint Service Academy where you spend your first year, then pick which school (class ranking) you want to go to. Less Academics, and more war-fighting.

I can tell you from my time there that yes, a lot of us did attend for free education but the priority was future military service. You can quit the Academy within the first two years and owe no money back. A lot of guys and gals who did leave ended up in ROTC and getting commissioned anyway. Even in my case the free education was a big selling point. It was "attend USMA for free" or "pay 27K for the first year at Furman University with only a three-year ROTC scholarship and possibly saddle myself with debt or bankrupt my family". At 17 years old, what option do you think wins out? Well for me it was obvious.

Our class entered before 9/11 and we all had the chance to leave over two full years before we made our commitments as juniors. The majority of us stayed, knowing that we would go to war and desperately wanting to get into the fight. We had no illusions about going into combat. In fact, we were afraid that we would miss the wars. How wrong we were...

As far as giant sorority/frat houses, that isn't the case with West Point. As freshman and sophomores you're pretty well locked down. The first break is really Thanksgiving and then Christmas. As juniors and seniors you do have off-post privileges on the weekends but many of us drank at the on-post bars so we wouldn't have to walk or drive anywhere. Do shenanigans happen? Sure. But it's controlled and there is a very thin line between fun and getting kicked out for being an embarrassment to the institution. The military bearing and courtesy is top-notch and better than anything I experienced in the regular Army so far. The physical fitness? We have entire companies of cadets that score an average of 300 and above on the PT test.

As far as the "Old Grad" club, yes it exists but it is like any other college fraternity or graduating class. You live in a military style environment for four years and the entire class bonds in various ways, and then you send that class off together to war. The bonds strengthen over time and we feel that bond with every single graduate. Once we leave service, we stay in touch and West Point has excellent job fairs and transition briefings for graduates looking for work. Does it breed a little nepotism or "good" old boy club? Sure, but for the most part it's based on merit and competence.
 

Viper1

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I did not join the Army because I wanted a free ride to college. It just so happened that I got one, however I'll repay that debt and then some as a I plan to stay for a career, some of the good ones need to.

The majority of the West Pointers I've worked, the overwhelming reason was hey I can get a free education at one of the top schools in the country and then be hooked into a network "Old Grad," it sounds extremely gay (Stupid, idiotic aka Old Boys). Whilst I also see a lot of them not really being the quality of men that the Army should be accepting into the place that is supposed to supply the Army with a steady supply of officers. The fact that more money is going to the Service Academies and not to Senior Military Colleges is crazily annoying. The resources that can be commanded to train West Pointers seems wasted.

Disclaimer, I attended VMI, I did what one of my mentors said about getting a great education there, I seized it. ROTC is a great tool, because we train every week and the entire academic year, slots to schools are limited unlike at West Point where from what I understand it is a requirement for graduation.

As graduates we paid that free education back in full and then some, I can assure you. The taxpayer got every dime back from us. The old grad network really doesn't come into play until graduation but for a lot of things it does help, inside and out of the military, including those times of tragedy or pain when you need a family around you.

Yes, going to at least military school (airborne, air assault, sapper, SRT, etc) is a requirement for graduation. It's all based on an OML, which of course is tied to your academic course work (21 credits most semesters). The better the grades, the more options you have open to you.

Part of the reason senior military colleges don't get more funding is that they don't provide more officers to the force at large. Correct me if I'm wrong but when I applied to VMI only 20-25% of graduates took commissions into the Armed Forces. Five guys from my HS class attended the Citadel and none of them took commissions, and this was at the height of the Iraq War. Personally, if they want more funding then they should make it mandatory for the graduates to take commissions.

As far as West Points funding, a lot of it comes from donations from Old grads and their families. One old grad donated 50 million my senior year.
 

Viper1

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Is one of your theories that they started their west point education during a peacetime military and graduated into a wartime military they were not prepared for or willing to be a part of?

As I stated earlier, we all knew many 2001-2004 graduates who fought, were wounded, or died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the instructors lost of their classmate peers. We were prepared and more than willing to be a part of it. We were afraid that we would miss the war actually. A couple prior-service guys left but they went back to their old units and made the invasion of Iraq.
 

Viper1

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So my thoughts on why officers leave? I think it comes down to two things. A junior officer's over-expectation on what he will do based off all the reading list war stories he's read or heard about and then a lack of trust within the Army. As junior officers we may have expected to do as much as the men who preceded us. Not to say we didn't see a lot of combat or kinetic activity. We did, but under different circumstances and constraints.

Think about the first one. I remember hearing from COL Roger Donlon (ret), Medal of Honor recipient, about one of the training events he did with his SFODA prior to their Vietnam deployment. They did the "drop grenade" drill...with a live grenade. Of course he did it first and then his men followed suit. Fast forward to 2012 and I had one SF BN CDR say on the phone during RIP/TOA "there isn't anything left here losing your life over" and another SF BN CDR disapprove a dismounted patrol and another SF BN CDR tell ODAs to withdraw from a fight even though we have all the advantages they teach us in Ranger school and SFQC plus air support.

Do you think my heart and mind that loves my SFODA and loves this job is disappointed and crushed by those statements and actions? You're damn right it is but I keep doing this because I'm good at it and this is my life's work. For others, the strain of fighting that is too much so they leave. Their expectations aren't met and so it becomes too much. Truthfully, I can't blame them for feeling that way.

Now that is SF. Imagine the regular Army at this point. Hell I worked there for 6 years. The word "trust" is not in our Army values and when I sat with my peers who were getting out after a 2009 rotation that is what they all missed. There was no trust. No trust of a junior officer to make the right decision without rampant micromanagement. No trust that a Soldier's family would be taken care. No trust that serious issues, like a Soldier's pay or a Soldier's award, would be resolved or adjudicated quickly. No trust that the Army or the units we were in would take hard learned lessons, fire incompetent performers, and become more effective and efficient. No trust that mediocrity would no longer be accepted, especially in the officer ranks. I've seen Majors in daily brigade meetings get blown in place to the point where their Captain assistant takes the briefs for the remainder of the trip but in the end guess what? That same Major is given a good OER and a job as an S-3 or XO. The officer corps as a whole is terrible at counseling each other but that's another discussion for another day.

That roundtable discussion with my peers happened in Basra, 2009. There were 9 of us Captains and I was the only one staying in the Army. Out of 36 majors in the entire mechanized brigade, we came up with a list of 9 who we would follow into combat. That's 25%. That right there is why junior officers leave the Army.

Just my experiences though. There were and are a lot of good times and memories I have.
 

ThunderHorse

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Yes, going to at least military school (airborne, air assault, sapper, SRT, etc) is a requirement for graduation. It's all based on an OML, which of course is tied to your academic course work (21 credits most semesters). The better the grades, the more options you have open to you.

Part of the reason senior military colleges don't get more funding is that they don't provide more officers to the force at large. Correct me if I'm wrong but when I applied to VMI only 20-25% of graduates took commissions into the Armed Forces. Five guys from my HS class attended the Citadel and none of them took commissions, and this was at the height of the Iraq War. Personally, if they want more funding then they should make it mandatory for the graduates to take commissions.
The schools portion, we get slots given to us by Cadet Command at VMI. We get more because of the size of the battalion today. When you graduate from one of the schools you get more points towards the commissioning OML.

VMI had mandatory commissioning for ten years from 1978-1988, so commissioning rates were close to 90% overall between Active and Reserves across the services. You literally can't have mandatory commissioning today because it is supposedly a state school, however the money coming our way from the state itself is diminishing to the point of no return. The General wants to increase in state percentage...which is stupid because you don't bring in the 40+k a year from them. VMI is the last traditional of all the senior military colleges in that every person that attends is going for their Bachelors Degree and has to be a cadet, the others have grad programs and also some civilian students. Commissioning when I got there was probably close to 45% for my Dyke's class. That rate has since gone up, I'd say of my class it would be closer to 60%. The next two classes are going to be on the high end of the 60s which is about as good as we're going to get. The Army is willing to take bodies, however the Marine Corps who commissions the second most cadets at the school will probably shrink their overall recruitment.

But what I said about the quality of individuals that I work with from West Point, it just flabbergasted me that these were the kinds of men that were admitted. Don't get me wrong, there are some great guys, but about half of them lacked military bearing and discipline and I would place that upon the current system. We'll see how long they last. Honestly though, I'm not saying VMI is the end all be all, there were plenty of folks that believed should not have been commissioned because they didn't live up to the values that were taught to us.

My overall opinion is, too many of the bad officers are allowed to stay and too many of the good ones throw up that peace sign before it's time to attend career course because they're tired of the bullshit. Because what I've observed, read, and listen to the Army is not a meritocracy which is what it's supposed to be.
 

AWP

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In an effort to explain a point in this thread we run the risk of drifting from the OP, but such is life...

I commissioned through the National Guard's OCS program in 2000. My class enrolled about 81, started 73 or so, with 41 completing and 40 taking a commission. At that time my state was about 100 CGO's in the hole, so 40 new butter bars was amazing given that prior classes were in the high teen's, low 20's in commissioning. Hmm...

We had 2 candidates outright assault other candidates, 1 was because he didn't want to carry the radio during one of our lanes and when told to do it, he attacked the other candidate. I kid you not. The other was a simple argument that escalated.

Commissioned. Both of them.

We had 4 female soldiers in my class. One rolled back due to a broken leg (she would commission the next year) and the other 3 graduated. One of those 3 was having an affair, quite openly, with an O-6. Her brother-in-law was one of our TAC officers. She was an E-4 prior to OCS and working as a technician. She openly refused a direct, lawful order from her O-5 boss while doing her technician job during the week. When he pressed the issue at State HQ he was told to shut up and color. She wasn't written up for it and with no write-up on her enlisted record?

You know how this ends. Commissioned. Did I mention she failed a PT test during OCS? Speaking of....

PT scores were so heavily weighted that we had 2 guys in the Top 10 of our class who were in the bottom 5 academically and the bottom 10 in leadership. A 300 APFT gave them enough points to graduate in the top 10 despite being in the bottom 10 of the other categories. A 5 paragraph OPORD kicked their asses. It was sad to watch, but infuriating when I realized how much the APPFT mattered.

Puerto Rico consistently commissions officers who cannot speak English. "Free....c'mon, man, you can't commission without being able to speak English." I beg to differ because I saw it with my own eyes.

You will always have turds pinning on a bar. The toilet that turd was flushed from doesn't matter, because it is still a turd. I've worked with several Citadel graduates and only one was worth a damn. Bad experience, bad school/ program? I don't know, but I know I cringe when the Citadel is mentioned thanks to my exposure to what it produces.

The bar, the school...doesn't matter except that in some cases we're funding a turd's education. We expect more from them, knowing that their graduates are now part of the reflective belt mafia?
 

ThunderHorse

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Not a fan of the Citadel myself. In regards to Puerto Rico commissioning people that can't speak English, I don't know if anyone of them had high enough grades to make it to active duty. However, in 6th Regiment of Operation Warrior Forge in 2011 the majority of the University of Puerto Rico's cadets were there. NONE OF THEM spoke English, it was...disgusting.
 

Teufel

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But what I said about the quality of individuals that I work with from West Point, it just flabbergasted me that these were the kinds of men that were admitted. Don't get me wrong, there are some great guys, but about half of them lacked military bearing and discipline and I would place that upon the current system. We'll see how long they last. Honestly though, I'm not saying VMI is the end all be all, there were plenty of folks that believed should not have been commissioned because they didn't live up to the values that were taught to us.

My overall opinion is, too many of the bad officers are allowed to stay and too many of the good ones throw up that peace sign before it's time to attend career course because they're tired of the bullshit. Because what I've observed, read, and listen to the Army is not a meritocracy which is what it's supposed to be.

I would have been one of those guys you think lack military discipline and bearing. I thought the majority of the guys at TBS were way too high strung and displayed too much false motivation. Guys from the state military academies were usually the worst violators. They usually mellowed out with time. There is a lot more to discipline than haircuts and drill movements. Don't make assumptions on how long your classmates will last. They may be thinking the same about you.
 

ThunderHorse

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My assumption about how long they last is not based off of me thinking they can't cut the mustard but rather the words that had come out of their mouths.

Also there's one more problem, a mentor of mine who was at 73 Easting in G/Squadron/2ACR, who was '88 of West Point talked to me what the old days were like: the bad PLs got one platoon command and then went to staff, the normal ones usually got two platoon commands, and the really good ones got three platoon commands before they moved on to staff or as an XO. I think we're presently recruiting too many officers, every Captain I've met here and many of the senior officers that have spoken to us mentions how much we'll love platoon time...well some of the good ones today only get six months.

I've been told that platoon command is the best job, for all the obvious reasons: being down in the dirt with the guys, the ability to mentor 40 guys and know them for who they are.

In regards to being a tool, I kept my hair long, I keep it long now. There may be a lot more to this job than haircuts and drill movements but they're a part of it and you should aspire to excel at it because you are a professional. Everyone's a judge, and everyone is judged, all that matters is that we do our jobs correctly.
 

Teufel

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My assumption about how long they last is not based off of me thinking they can't cut the mustard but rather the words that had come out of their mouths.

Also there's one more problem, a mentor of mine who was at 73 Easting in G/Squadron/2ACR, who was '88 of West Point talked to me what the old days were like: the bad PLs got one platoon command and then went to staff, the normal ones usually got two platoon commands, and the really good ones got three platoon commands before they moved on to staff or as an XO. I think we're presently recruiting too many officers, every Captain I've met here and many of the senior officers that have spoken to us mentions how much we'll love platoon time...well some of the good ones today only get six months.

I've been told that platoon command is the best job, for all the obvious reasons: being down in the dirt with the guys, the ability to mentor 40 guys and know them for who they are.

In regards to being a tool, I kept my hair long, I keep it long now. There may be a lot more to this job than haircuts and drill movements but they're a part of it and you should aspire to excel at it because you are a professional. Everyone's a judge, and everyone is judged, all that matters is that we do our jobs correctly.

You and your peers are saying this based on what? The entry level pipeline you are still inside of? Hit the operating forces for awhile and get back to us. I always thought that I would do my five years and leave but here I am at 11 and still going. Who knows if I'll hit 20. A lot of the guys I went to TBS with who said they were going to five and dive are still around. A lot of the guys who said they were in the Marines for a career are already out. Things change with time and experience.

The Army doesn't do itself any favors with short platoon commander tours. I was a platoon commander for six years and felt like I was just getting good at my job.
 

Viper1

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The schools portion, we get slots given to us by Cadet Command at VMI. We get more because of the size of the battalion today. When you graduate from one of the schools you get more points towards the commissioning OML.

VMI had mandatory commissioning for ten years from 1978-1988, so commissioning rates were close to 90% overall between Active and Reserves across the services. You literally can't have mandatory commissioning today because it is supposedly a state school, however the money coming our way from the state itself is diminishing to the point of no return. The General wants to increase in state percentage...which is stupid because you don't bring in the 40+k a year from them. VMI is the last traditional of all the senior military colleges in that every person that attends is going for their Bachelors Degree and has to be a cadet, the others have grad programs and also some civilian students. Commissioning when I got there was probably close to 45% for my Dyke's class. That rate has since gone up, I'd say of my class it would be closer to 60%. The next two classes are going to be on the high end of the 60s which is about as good as we're going to get. The Army is willing to take bodies, however the Marine Corps who commissions the second most cadets at the school will probably shrink their overall recruitment.

But what I said about the quality of individuals that I work with from West Point, it just flabbergasted me that these were the kinds of men that were admitted. Don't get me wrong, there are some great guys, but about half of them lacked military bearing and discipline and I would place that upon the current system. We'll see how long they last. Honestly though, I'm not saying VMI is the end all be all, there were plenty of folks that believed should not have been commissioned because they didn't live up to the values that were taught to us.

My overall opinion is, too many of the bad officers are allowed to stay and too many of the good ones throw up that peace sign before it's time to attend career course because they're tired of the bullshit. Because what I've observed, read, and listen to the Army is not a meritocracy which is what it's supposed to be.

I'm glad the commissioning rates have gone up since when I first applied. That's great news. One of my SF mentors is a VMI grad and I did visit there. I was truly impressed with it. 3-year Army ROTC scholarship but I couldn't come up with $18K for the first year. All in the past though.

Trust me, take any group of old grads and we can tell you the guys who we don't appreciate being associated with as old grads. I think a large amount of cadets step on their crank one, two, or multiple times while there but we recover and go on to do good things. Cadet performance isn't usually an indicator of military performance. Some folks do "straight up and fly right" once those bars go on...Ranger school helps too.
 

Marauder06

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Diamondback 2/2

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I thought Puerto Rico NG was the only branch of the Armed Forces that was authorized to speak Spanish?

I remember bringing it up when I trained one of their BCT’s to deploy to Iraq, and hardly any of them spoke English (no shit I had a translator for the classes). But yeah I brought it up to the NCOIC and got the above as a reply.
 
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