signs of things to come - tough scene

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by educateme, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. educateme

    educateme Member

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    My freshman son called. Told me that there are two 4 year scholarship cadets and a few 3 year ADs for the entire battalion (freshmen). From his school (host campus), he is the only 4 year scholarship cadet (and a couple of 3 year ADs). I know for a fact that there were a few more scholarship winners who failed to gain admission to the school (this school's acceptance rate dipped for this year's incoming freshmen class meaningfully - so....).

    In a normal year, I would think the unused scholarships would have been allocated for May/June scholarship transfers and on campus grants. This school provides free room and board for scholarship winners - so this is a very attractive deal, and I highly doubt that there was no scholarship transfer request to this school. Furthermore, if I remember correctly, the PMS, when my son visited him, told him that he had a budget to give out a couple of 4 year scholarship on campus.

    If there was indeed a moratorium against any "backfill" of unused scholarships or campus scholarships, this puts this whole thing in a pretty stark context, and does not bode well for the coming year especially for those who are applying to private schools. I wonder, if the moratorium would be more rigorously enforced for very expensive private schools like my son's.

    Meanwhile, 60 freshmen showed up for the ROTC program. They did not even have enough uniforms to go around. They gave them to the scholarship cadets first and then the are going to run lottery for the rest.

    My two cents for this years scholarship applicants: leave nothing to chance. Cross ALL the T's and dot ALL the I's. If it's not too late,turn in the application as soon as possible so that you can get evaluated from the first board on. Visit the PMSs of the schools you are listing if you can. At the minimum, have a phone conference. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Good luck.
     
  2. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Interesting data points, educateme. Thanks for sharing.

    The part about the moratorium on unused scholarships not being recirculated back into the system troubles me considerably. In my view, Cadet Command should publicly state what its policy is concerning declined scholarships and whether on-campus students can benefit from them (by "publicly" I mean "PUBLICLY" and not relying on the message to trickle out through ROOs, often inconsistently). The reason I say this is because many SA appointees simultaneously apply for ROTC and ultimately end up declining the ROTC scholarship offer when they accept the SA appointment. You can't blame the SA applicants for also applying to ROTC, because an SA appointment is FAR from a certain thing.

    The problem arises when an SA applicant receives an appointment early (as is the case for principal nominees), but also has an offer on the table for ROTC. If the scenario you've painted turns out to be true, you essentially have one deserving high school student creating a lost opportunity for another well-deserving student. This is compounded because the SA appointees can't possibly know what their options truly are until the college admissions decisions are announced in April. But April is too late for 2011-12 ROTC applicants to benefit from a declined scholarship offer. This is not a fair system, in my judgment. And moving up the deadline for declinations to March isn't the right answer either, because the SA appointee does not have an admissions decision yet from the ROTC college (unless he or she applied ED) if he or she is seriously considering the ROTC commissioning path as an alternative.

    We know that CC lurks here on the SAF ROTC forum. I truly hope that CC reads this thread and recognizes the great inequities that will be caused by not recirculating unused scholarships for deserving students. After all, the money has been budgeted and allocated -- it should NOT be treated as a windfall for the following fiscal year. Even if it is the case that the declined "Plan Bs" of SA appointees will not benefit anyone (a position that, if true, I very strongly urge CC to reconsider), CC should announce that policy publicly to at least place early SA appointees under more pressure to make their decisions sooner before the money "evaporates", well in time for the March board (most would make a speedier decision, I believe, if they knew for certain that an extended delay would adversely affect opportunties for someone else), .
     
  3. educateme

    educateme Member

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    If I were to recommend a SINGLE change on the part of CC in terms of scholarship process is to make it clear on their web site that there are multiple boards and there is a deadline for each board.

    I don't know what it looks like this year, but till last year, they said, deadline is March, and you will hear by May or something like that. Anybody who is used to the concept of "deadline" for college applications or anything like that interprets it as, "As long as the application is submitted before the stated deadline, there is no disadvantage or advantage of the "timing" of the submission.

    Well, we all know that this is NOT the case, don't we!!! Some popular battalions/schools slots are long gone by March.

    It's only through the informal words of the mouth that some of the applicants find out what is REALLY going on, and act accordingly. However, you can easily imagine a really dedicated and qualified applicant who goes by what the Army web site is officially saying gets royally sc#$%d and find himself/herself in a terribly disadvantaged position. Why should they be penalized by trusting Army to provide accurate information on the application process. Why such mystery? After all, nobody has to second guesse what the colleges are saying on their web site when they explain their application process.

    Why would they leave such vitally important information such as the "rolling" boards and their deadlines to words of mouth is beyond me.
     
  4. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    My quick take on one reason why there are so many scholarships accepted to highly competitive schools where the candidate is not accepted is that AROTC and Admissions have very different priorities in what they look for in applicants.

    We all know the Scholar Athlete Leader mantra here on the board and know that you can easily max out the Scholar part of that score (particularly on SAT/ACT scores) well below the threshhold for these highly selective schools. Likewise, the "Athlete" only needs a certain number of letters and a certain PFT score to max out that section, whereas the recruited athlete has a higher achievement threshhold to clear. In the leadership category, someone gets on admissions Radar only with extraordinary experiences, not just your class president on the resume which will score plenty of points with AROTC.

    However, as much as highly selective colleges value all of the Scholar Athlete Leader skills in their applicants, they tend to prefer the unbalanced candidate (the 140+ IQ with 12 AP tests passed with 5's who can't walk and chew bubble gum) over AROTC's balanced ideal candidate. The school balances out the bookworm with an athletic recruit who while bright is considered more of a hard worker in the classroom. The kid who start a successful business in his basement (can u say internet startup) and doesn't turn in all his homework is looked at more favorably by admissions than by CC is more likely to be admitted to balance out the other 2 types.

    These differences in priorities are exaggerated at highly competitive schools where the admissions rate is very low as at most publics, the admissions rate is high enough that all ROTC candidates who make the early boards are admitted.

    I think if CC wants to improve the yield on their scholarhip offers (may not be a priority, you never know), they would be better served only offer scholarship to these schools after the EA/ED results are known in December and requiring either EA or ED application to these schools. Yes, that means delaying offers to these candidates until the 2nd board - and perhaps they should save their slots at their backup schools until this second board as well so they are not penalized for applying to top schools.

    Unlike others, I seriously doubt CC decision makers read these forums as they don't need our validation for how they run their operation. It would be interesting though if they were genuinely interested in the user feedback from the users of their system. Not holding my breath, though.
     
  5. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Do we know this? I realize Jcleppe reported that the Cadre at the University of Idaho said this (8th Brigade), and Marist wrote on 8 July 2011 that his 2nd Brigade announced a moratorium on in-college scholarship awards http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=20769&highlight=scholarship

    1. Marist wrote that 7 weeks ago.
    2. Marist's Brigade that announced this...I am not clear if the announcement pertained to all eight Brigades, or just his own 2nd Brigade.

    Clearly the evidence points to a country-wide hold on offering in-college scholarships right now in the last six weeks of the current fiscal year. I hope that hold is released in the November time frame in the new fiscal year of 1 Oct. 2011 - 30 Sept. 2012, so that non-scholarship MSII cadets can be offered 2.5 year scholarships, and non Scholarship/3 yr. AD MSIs can be offered/upgraded to 3.5 yr.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The FY budget is just 1 part of the equation, the bigger part is manpower needs. If the Army has decided that they will have enough officers coming through ROTC to meet their AD quota for 2016, than they are not going to offer IS 3 yr scholarships. This is basically what they said for 15, they had enough going in as freshman, and the attrition rate was high enough that they didn't need to offer any 3 yr scholarships.


    It just isn't all about the budget. Now granted if you whittle it down enough it still comes down to budget, but it is coming from the AD side, not the ROTC.
     
  7. educateme

    educateme Member

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    as usual, Pima brings an excellent point to our attention.

    So, it's a double yammy. The budget cut and AD manpower needs going down. Both of these combined raise the bar for those who are looking to obtain a scholarship to expensive private schools. On top of the normal qualification issues, there should be extra care and attention to the school choice selection this year. Hence the room for careful strategizing.

    Needless to say, if you are SAT 2400, GPA 4.0, a captain of the FB team,and a class president to boot, there is no need for strategizing. However, most applicants don't fall into this category. Most candidates benefit from a carefully thought out strategy to maximize the odds of getting what they want out of this whole process. That's why I don't subscribe to this routinely offered wisdom of "do you best to be the top candidate and hope for the best". Truthfully, I don't think my son was a shoe in candidate for both ROTC 4 year scholarship and the admission into the school he is at now. In his case, a lot of careful strategy on both fronts really helped him.

    (Why a student prefers a private school is an entirely a different story, so let's not pass value judgment on this count. In my son's case, none of the in state public schools was very attractive to him for a variety of reasons. Most of the out of the state public schools he might be interested in was very expensive for the out of state students, almost at the same range as private schools, so there was no point considering them for financial reasons. That left private schools that he was very drawn to to begin with).
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Marist just posted on another thread.

    So unfortunately educateme was not being Chicken Little. @50% of their budget was whacked!

    This yr is going to be painful.

    Now before everyone freaks remember, AROTC has a beauty that the AFROTC system does not. Every cadet will go to LDAC, and so they can still commission into the Army. AFROTC only 50%, including scholarship will go to their equivalent, and if they don't go there is no commissioning, plus you lose your scholarship. Your life in AFROTC can go upside down very quickly as a sophomore/rising jr in college.

    The one thing to really get is that if they are cutting a budget this drastically, you need to understand that waivers are going to be handed out less frequently.

    The other is, they obviously have a large enough pool to meet manpower needs even in ROTC, so don't take anything for granted.

    Finally, there is a lot of chatter on the SA sites about how the SA's are bloated. By law they can not surpass 4400 cadets, and if they do they must request a waiver. AFA LY went from the traditional 1600-1700 offers to 1350, this year it is expected to go even lower. That means those candidates will be applying for an ROTC scholarship. People are now saying USNA is expected to reduce their offers this yr. I bet WP is going to follow also. The DOD is hitting everywhere, and SA's are more protected than ROTC, but not to the pt that the Army is going to give them a waiver for too many cadets, they are going to say cut your numbers.

    Add in bringing troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan with an unemployment rate at 9%, many of the AD members will not leave because a paycheck is a paycheck. It means that they will have too many and they will need to cut, and cut quickly. RIF boards take about a yr., hitting ROTC is immediate.
     
  9. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Iv'e been told that the army will be at 125% goal for CO grade officers for the next few years. Can anyone confirm this?
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Nobody would be able to confirm this because the biggest impact will be the economy. However, as a non-betting woman, I would say that is true! AF is looking at a RIF, Navy is looking at a RIF, it would be insane to believe that the Army isn't when they are drawing down from the sandbox, it may not be this yr, but that doesn't mean it won't be next yr.

    Back in 91-93 we were in the same slump, and every branch had an issue with CO grades not diving at previous rates. This forced a RIF for every branch, and some also did SERBs or sped up O4 boards to kick them out. It was also identical to the point that large amounts of troops were returning home and now the units were over manned.

    Nobody can tell you if this will be the case in 16 for the incoming classes. However, if you use other branches as their bar, I would say for 12/13 that is probably true. There has always been an inverse relationship between the economy and attrition/retention rate. Low unemployment high attrition. High unemployment low attrition rate. Right now we are at the latter.

    People don't understand that there are % for manpower regarding rank. Officer to Enlisted. Flag to Field, Field to Company. If those %'s are out of flux, they will start chopping away.

    SERB and speeding up O5 promotion boards usually means that they are top heavy.

    RIF and speeding up 04 boards usually means that they have a problem with CO grade.

    VSP to specific groups, be it enlisted or officer means they are heavy in certain career fields, and want to trim there before they go RIF.

    Overall, it costs more and takes more time to do any of these methods than to cut loose the scholarship cadet 3 months prior to commissioning. Yes, they wasted 150K for education, but to train them, get them operational and pay 4 yrs salary it would cost more than that. Why do that if you already have someone sitting in the chair owing time back?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Pima, you are right on as usual.

    Another thing I would add to this is what you do once in ROTC. I can speak only for AROTC.

    Don't get in trouble once you are at school. A few years ago they would counsel a cadet if they were to get a MIP or MIC, not so much anymore. The cadets were told this year if you get one you will most likely lose your scholarship. My son' battalion had a MS4 last year that received a DUI for .082, he lost his scholarship, was not allowed to commission and is now one of the Army's newest privates.

    Alcohol related issues are not the only concern, Traffic tickets with a fine over $250.00, getting in a fight that results in charges, all of these can impact your scholarship. Basically, keep your nose clean.

    Of Course passing the APFT is a must so be ready to work hard.

    The bottom line is you may need to validate your existance in the future, don't slack off thinking this is a free ride. As the manpower draws down the Active Duty cut off line will just go higher meaning many of you will be forced to reserves even if you had you heart set on Active Duty.

    Oh yes one more thing, don't do anything stupid that might result in an injury that will require a waiver, as Pima said they are becoming harder to get.
     
  12. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    No one can know for sure, not even Secretary Leon Panetta, until the axe has finally swung in Congress this fall. My guess is that this downsizing will be worse than the 91-93 slump. Ugh.

    I continue to believe, though, that there are plenty of times in an officer's career when the headwinds will appear to be strong. But a true leader does not let adversity discourage him or her from the plan -- as young Lieutenant Melcher displayed in spades when he ordered his men (who were then nearly surrounded, out-manned, and completely out of ammunition) to "Fix Bayonets!" at the Battle of Little Round Top near Gettysburg, PA many years ago. As everyone knows, that command and sheer grit changed the course of history as we know it.

    Things truly can turn on a dime, as the ROTC Class of 2001 found out.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Patent,

    Sorry but you have a flaw in your argument. The DOD will have to cut 10% over the next 10 yrs, thus this fall will only start to illustrate what is on the chopping block, and it will change over the next decade regarding what needs to stay or go reacting to the needs of the military.

    Additionally, as someone who saw a lot of great officers RIF in 92. I can tell you that sometimes it just comes down to timing. You can be the best, but if they have to cut, they have to cut.

    There were guys in the AF that were WSOs went to UPT, but because of budget cuts and pipelines slowing they got heavies just because the AF had no fighters. A yr later on even the guy who was the bottom of the barrel got a fighter, because the AF needed to fill that void. The AF said NO you can't x-train into fighters.

    So to me sometimes it is all out of your control regardless how hard you fight diversity.
     
  14. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    You may be right, Pima. But I recall a number of years ago in 1990 when I was completing my service obligation to attend law school. At the time, the Army announced that ZERO active-duty officers would be permitted to transfer from active-duty to Reserves. Zero!

    If I recall correctly, there were less than ten officers in the entire US Army that year who managed to secure a Reserve slot, notwithstanding the Army's bold pronouncement that the number would be zero. I was one of them.

    You were likely better at math than I ever was, but I suppose my main point was that applicants should not allow the expected downsizing to deter their goal of working hard to secure a scholarship and obtaining a commission. And I suspect your real message (and mine) for everyone here on SAF is that it is critical -- CRITICAL -- to have a Plan B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and (whatever comes after "H").

    As I have said many times here on SAF, the real prize is the Commission -- not the scholarship.
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You are right. That is my point, have every back up plan ready, and than a back up plan for that back up plan.

    Lightening struck for you, and even in your post it wasn't about you fighting for that AD to Reserve, or your determination, but because it landed on your lap. Now maybe you had a connection to someone, or your DOR date placed you in a different yr group, I don't know. But, in the end there will be some well qualified candidates/cadets that will never go AD because they were born in the wrong yr! DARN US MOTHERS!

    Indeed, I am not saying to not fight for your dreams, I am saying that don't beat yourself up in a negative way. 125% manned CO grade, if that is true will mean a ton of slashing.
     
  16. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    It will not be pretty for our kiddos. Difficult at times to look into the future, with all the chaos and uncertainty - not just the military, but everywhere. DS has plans that could include National Guard officership and grad school already in mind - will have to see. The commission is the prize - service is the job, thank goodness even in light of the insanity, so many young adults are willing to chance this to serve our country.
     
  17. bpanter94

    bpanter94 Member

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    Wonder if the AFROTC will see the same drastic cuts to scholarships as AROTC. I know the ROO at the university I am interested in told me after the last AFROTC Board this past year that only a little over 900 HSSP AFROTC scholarships were given out. That was down from 1600 the year before! Can't hardly see them reduce them much further without eliminating the programs at alot of universities, since there are over 1000 universities with AFROTC.
     
  18. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Don't forget College Program Kids

    Don't forget the College Program students. Seems like at least half of the incoming NROTC students in DS battalion were College Program students. I wouldn't think AFROTC would be all that different. I expect that will be enough to keep the programs going. However, it also wouldn't surprise me if they cut back on the number of schools to achieve some savings in staffing etc.
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Believe it or not the AF was showing for yrs now that they were the sign of things to come.

    AFROTC operates totally different, and the one thing you have to understand is that not everyone goes to SFT. No SFT, no commissioning. By reducing the amount of scholarships, they are trying to also increase the % of those who get commissioned. They can do this because SFT also has a set number, but that number has remained the same, not decrease, hence a larger % of cadets will actually get commissioned later on since the pool is smaller and more will now go to SFT.

    AFROTC cancelled IS scholarships for the last 2 yrs. They have yet to make an announcement for TY if there will be a board.

    The blood bath for AFROTC started back in FY09/10. Not only for scholarships, but for SFT, AND they even released cadets 3 months prior to commissioning whom already had orders and career fields in hand. This was due to MPC realizing that they were above their manpower needs.

    They even started a RIF, SERB process and sped up promotions of O4s. Rule is if you have 16 yrs in and make rank they will keep you until 20, so by speeding up promotion boards, reducing the % promoted, they used the 2x passed over and gone tactic. You do not get separation pay, you do not get retirement pay, you get a hardy hand shake.

    They also stopped OCS boards for non-rated the past 2 yrs.

    Plus, also if you were a UPT student, even an AFA grad, and busted UPT they were releasing some of them from their commitment. When times are good they will either wash them back a class, or change their career field.

    The problem for AFROTC candidates that are doing this as Plan A, is they will be competing against AFA candidates that are doing this as Plan B. AFROTC boards do not talk to the AFA boards when it comes to awarding scholarship. AFA has announced that because they are not in line with their mandated 4400 cadets, that this yrs class will be @1050, and only about 1300 apptmts will be offered, down from the 1600-1700 2 yrs ago. Those cadets will now slide over to plan B. Worse yet is that many of them will meet an early board, but not have their AFA decision, so they hold onto the scholarship until they know if they are in at the AFA, they are allowed to do this because the AFA supersedes AFROTC. The mass mailing for the AFA is in March, which means even if they put it back in the pot that money will not be back in until after the last board, and AFROTC has to assume that they will be utilizing the scholarship. So when you are looking at chancing me threads over here, you should look at chance me threads on the AFA. They too are your competition.

    If not enough took it, they still have to meet their manpower needs for that yr group, and this is when they open up the IS boards. If not enough graduate from ROTC or AFA this is when they open up OCS boards. However, in the past few yrs they have had enough take, but worse yet, the attrition rate has risen, so they have too many in the system still, and the only way to now boot them is SFT.

    I have heard the Navy will be following suit with the reduction of the class of 16 for USNA, if this is true, I would suspect NROTC will also be a blood bath.

    What I think you will see for AFROTC this yr re:scholarships is the amount of non-tech awarded will be reduced compared to tech, and even some tech fields will be cut due to projected manpower for that field. AFROTC has to assume that what your intended major is will be the major you graduate, so they don't want 100% of their tech majors to be Computer Engineer or Aero. They need some in every field.

    You may also see more Type 7's being offered, in hopes that they can save money that way and open up the IS board. Or for all we know they may change the rule for converting Type 7 to Type 2, by placing restrictions on which major can.
    Finally, remember the AF is not like Army when it comes to scholarships, they do not care one iota how many scholarships are at each det. If 1 det has 100%, and another has 0%, that is fine by them. So it really doesn't directly impact them at all from that POV.

    To answer the next question of why they ask for schools when you apply? They are doing it from a manpower need for staffing. If they see a sharp increase/decrease in applications for the school, it may require them to add or subtract AD members to reflect the size they expect at the school. Look at what has happened in the past few yrs, more and more kids are going IS for financial reasons, so those units have grown in size. If AFROTC did not ask that they could find themselves with a det which doubled in size come fall, meanwhile privates have decreased, and they could have a det 1/2 the size from the yr before. One det you would have staff being swamped by cadets, the other the staff is playing solitaire on their computers. It would not be efficient use of manpower, when they could have PCS'd them.

    OBTW, PCSing is not typically a 30 day process for AD members, it starts about 6 months out...or around the time of the last scholarship board meets.

    For those that do make it through these hard times, anyone who has lived the AD world will tell you that you will be blessed in your AF career. The reason why is that these yr groups will be small, and the military is bulimic. They gorge and purge, repeat process. When you are on the purge side, in yrs to come they will not have enough of you and this translates into speeding up promotion boards with higher rates. Bullet was on the purge side, the class yr in front of him was hit with a RIF, and promotion rates of 60% to O4 at 12 yrs. His yr it was 85% at 10 yrs. They purged so many WSO's and halted the UNT pipeline, that the AF had to start giving them a bonus to stay of 15K a yr for 7 yrs. on top of their flight pay. This was also when those beloved big time raises came out for people in his yr group it was @10%, for those below and above him it was @6% or less. They had to because their % of Flag to Field to Company was off since they had purged.

    Plus, for those in the system right now that want to go UPT, it is also working for you since their manpower needs for pilots has remained the same, but the pool size has decreased. Class of 12, had a higher AFSC rate for rated than it has for yrs. It is only expected to be expanding even more because of the 35 coming on line, plus UAVs are still increasing.

    Always look for the silver lining, it is always there!

    Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    JMPO, but I bet you can see the writing on the wall for AROTC regarding things to come.

    They already reduced scholarships for 15 and some schools have a moratorium on IS.
    ~~~ That means they are meeting their manpower needs.

    Somebody probably has the answer to this question. Since AROTC does not mandate that you serve AD upon commissioning has that number changed? If it has decreased it means there is no room at the inn.

    The more they slide over, the more it will clog the other ways, and the less they will need coming in.

    Have certain career fields slowed down regarding the start date of training? If so, it may mean they have too many and can push them through fast enough. Again, the pipeline is clogged and the spigot needs to be closed down some.

    Have they offered VSP (Voluntary Separation) to specific career fields or yr groups? VSP is the precursor to RIF, it is their last ditch effort to get rid of the bloating. If enough take them up on the offer, than there will be no RIF, if not enough than there will be a RIF.

    It is the little signs that nobody thinks about which really predicts the future of how things are to come, and usually they have been there for some time, but nobody paid attention to them.

    Look at this forum, all this started because of the DoD budget announcement, but it started way before that, the budget only exasperated the issue.

    As I have been saying this yr is the perfect storm. You have a poor economy which equates into high retention rates for AD, a budget slash and burn, plus drawing down out of the sandbox. Where do you put all of those AD officers returning? Afterall, it isn't as if they left all of those jobs empty stateside.

    The AF is always First In First Out operationally. This is why it hit them earlier. However, because this has been going on for yrs now, they are starting to come out of it whereas, the Army is starting to enter it. Looking at what I hear from my Navy friends it appears they are behind the AF, but in front of the Army. Many are saying that this is the yr they expect USNA to reduce their appointments, and placing RIF/SERB on the table.
     

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