Smaller class sizes what does that mean down the road?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by goldenlion, May 2, 2012.

  1. goldenlion

    goldenlion Member

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    With the incoming class of 2016 being much small at the academies this year (and ROTC???), I find myself wondering what affects that will have on their future careers, etc.

    For instance, since they are starting with such a small class, what will the attrition rate be? Do you think it will be lower than normal since they really can't afford to wash out too many?

    What will their first assignments be? Will those hard-to-get jobs be easier to get since there are fewer competing for them?

    What will their promotion rates be for 0-4, 0-5, and 0-6? Will they actually be higher than normal since there will be fewer of them?

    Since the year groups ahead of them are larger, how will that possibly affect their careers?

    Finally, since they are downsizing so much right now the active duty force, by the time they graduate in 4 years, and hopefully the economy will be better by then, will the active duty force actually have too few officers and the pendulum will swing to the opposite extreme?

    I understand that none of us really know the answers to these questions, but was wondering if we could make some educated guesses. Or if there is anyone else like me that is wondering the impact the small class size will have.

    This reminds me of the 90's when the Air Force was banking pilots and the incoming classes at USAFA had very few "pilot qualified" cadets. Then, a decade later, all of a sudden there was a shortage of pilots. It seems that the military is good at bouncing from one extreme to the other.
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    There is fault in your question. These classes are NOT "much smaller." In fact, the USMA class that enters this year will be larger on R-Day than my class was on R-day in 2000.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Your point?

    Are you honestly saying that the reports in the media about future budget and troop reduction is hype?
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Oh, come off it, Pima. The endless obtuseness for the sake of generating an argument gets really old.

    No, you know what, you're right. That's EXACTLY what I was saying. You heard it here first: there is no drawdown. It's all lies. :rolleyes:

    Now, if we can parse information like adults...

    It's a pervasive myth that USMA classes (and other SAs) are shrinking by a huge proportion or in a manner that is out of step with the accessions need for officers. This USMA class will likely end up around the 1200 mark, which is about 50 cadets larger than a class was a decade or so ago. The Army will reduce in size to about 490,000 (current projection) which is still slightly above pre-9/11 levels. So the result is that things are right on par for accessions going forward.

    The myths about numbers, I believe, come from the mistaken belief that the last 10 years were "the norm." They were not. It's been a long slog and we shaped the force to meet two wars. As those days pass, we'll undo some of the shaping we've done.

    As for jobs and promotions, no one can tell you. The Army and to a lesser extent the Marines are using this as a chance to review force structure. The Army will reduce the number of brigades by cutting some and making existing ones more robust. That will make new opportunities for officers and enlisted in new formations. How it will look in the end is not yet known. Some things we used to need soldiers to do can be done with technology or a drastically smaller number of soldiers now. The Army and the other services will change, but in many ways we are going back to much more traditional promotion and discipline/standards model.

    The trick will not be resizing or reshooting. The trick will be to do it without forgetting the lessons of these conflicts.
     
  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    And if a RIF occurs will Academy Graduates be immune? Just asking.
     
  6. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Please Scout correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the answer to that question is No.

    Edit: AF6872, I think I may have read your question wrong, I thought you meant a RIF once you are on Active Duty, did you mean a RIF that would result in a Academy Grad not going AD.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  7. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Any answer would be a suposition and that is only the current rumor. What a waste. No five year commitment. Then again they get a jump on the job market with an Academy Degree which is much desired in the business world. Mr/Ms giving this next presentation is a graduate of the ***** Acadeny.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  8. goldenlion

    goldenlion Member

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    USAFA data

    Here's USAFA data going back not just 10 years, but 30 years. The first number is the number that reported in, the second number is the number graduating:

    2016: 1050ish/TBD
    2015:1137/TBD
    2014: 1294/TBD
    2013: 1376/TBD
    2012: 1348/TBD
    2011: 1304/1021
    2010:1334/1001
    2009: 1390/1046
    2008: 1335/1012
    2007: 1302/976
    2006: 1209/889
    2005: 1271/906
    2004: 1369/974
    2003: 1330/995
    2002: 1220/943
    2001: 1118/862
    2000: 1239/942
    99: 1340/963
    98: 1340/947
    97: 1164/797
    96: 1126/922
    95: 1391/994
    94: 1391/1024
    93: 1383/959
    92: 1495/1076
    91: 1362/977
    90: 1338/993
    89: 1381/1022
    88: 1516/1074
    87:1447/989
    86: 1483/961
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Goldenlion; your questions, while interesting, conflict and aren't as relevant as you think.

    1. The class size may be lower, but that doesn't mean that the commissioning size is automatically lower. You said you're concerned with attrition because they can't really afford to lose that many. Sure they can. They can have a 900 graduating class.

    2. Your next question conflicts the next question. How can there be less competition for a job if the commissioning size of the class is the same; roughly 1000. What if the class size was 1000 with 0% attrition. They'd have the same normal commissioning size/job size/etc... But assuming they do have attrition, I don't think you'll see too much of a difference in jobs available. Most things are done proportionately.

    3. Promotions are correlated to retention, retirement, and normal attrition. The better the economy gets, the more people who will separate and get better paying jobs on the outside. Thus, making available a lot of promotions to fill certain slots. On the other hand, if the economy stays crappy like it has for the last 3 years, then many will try and stay longer and the military will have to decide how to RIF if needed.

    You have a lot of good questions. Unfortunately, many of them contradict each other. Not a problem. In my experience, other than the time in the 90's when they closed pilot slots, everything pretty much moves proportionately. I think most of these cadets will have the same opportunities for promotions and assignments, proportionately, as their peers in different year groups.
     
  10. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Assuming a reduction in force, everything will be reduced. Most of your questions assume that all that is reduced is the amount of officers entering the military. Less people in the Army mean less leadership positions so those "hard to get" positions will be more rare compensating for (most of) the reduction in force. In fact, I predict hard to get assignments to be even harder to get since a reduction in force means that the standards to get in will be higher since fewer people will be allowed to commission/enlist. Since the reduction will occur by getting rid of the lower end and recruitment will allow a smaller percentage of the top to enter, most people you compete against will be on average, higher caliber individuals.

    When they reduce the incoming class, they are taking into account normal attrition. Attrition rate will not change much because the incoming class was calculated based on how many people will graduate with normal attrition levels.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Golden,

    You endured the 90's blood bath, (VSP, RIF, SERB) and it is normal for you to worry seeing as the AF is repeating it again.

    Unless the poster lived through it, you can't fathom what that was like! It was a yr of waiting to see if the shoe would drop on you.

    I am sure Flieger and CC could tell stories where SAF members would run in fear. I know Bullet and I def. could. Golden is worried that history would repeat itself and now it is their child.

    Golden you have 2 options IMPO:
    1. Worry about the future
    2. Embrace the future

    There is no guarantee of anything.

    Good luck...Aim High... Above All!
     
  12. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    You are asking for people to look into a Crystal ball and give you answers not available. But- shrinking the incoming class at USMA or any of the other academies does not mean that the relative competitveness for assignments once on AD will change much. As Christcorp has pointed out- the force itself is shrinking and theoretically officer assessions are shrinking proportionally to the force. So while the relative competitiveness of getting in will change - it doesn't follow that over the life of the careers for those just starting now , their ability to get promoted and get good assignments will decrease. Rather- should be about the same as it is now. What would skew that would be if certain highly desired specialties are disproportionally shrinking - for example if the AF is staying roughly the same size but the number of pilot slots are shrinking in significantly higher percentages, then getting those slots will be more difficult.

    If you are really sweating the details of going into the military because it's "Shrinking"- you are making a mistake. The military has been drawn down in the past and it will balloon again if there is a need. Guys graduating in 1990 saw the Army shrink by 40% and they were offered incentives to leave before their intial commitment was up, they saw Primary zone promotion rates to LtCol dropped to less than 40% in 1997. But those 2LTs in 1990 got picked up for Lt Col in 2005 at a 90% plus rate. Things will change again - how? Can't tell you and neither can anyone else. It's going to be what it's going to be. If you want to be a Soldier/Sailor/Marine/Airman or Coast Guardsman- then don't sweat what you can't control and can't predict- go in the military. If you are trying to play the odds- you probably won't predict correctly and you will forgo a satisfying and important career.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  13. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    No one ever had it so tough.




    The climate now is quite different. We are still facing the problem of multiple deployments and folks (officers) wanting to leave and being denied vs. 20 years ago when bright careers were cut short. On the Army side, much of the force shaping will occur through voluntarily attrition matched with reduced accession. Obviously it has to be done selectively, but we have no trouble bleeding off young officers to shape year groups. In fact, we have to incentivize many to stay.

    At the end of day, the military is not a jobs program and none of us is owed a career. Many of us got free college, a wealth of experience, and amazing skills out of the deal. If they told me tomorrow that I'm done, I'd be sad. But I'd have no honest choice but to accept it, take my GI Bill, and move on to my new life. As Bruno said, if you need certain guarantees and security, this is the wrong business. It's service, first and foremost.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Scout,

    post 13

    Please enlighten me. Just have to know why you would post that comment.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  15. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Jcleppe:

    The question was about commissioned Academy Grads already in the military system. Do they get a pass on a RIF? Unless Scout has moved to Delphi I don't think he knows. Again "a great waste of time and money".
     
  16. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I have a condo in Delphi. The Oracle comes to ME for answers.

    No, academy grads are not immune. Once upon a time, it was a leg up when ROTC grads got USAR Active Duty commissions and USMA grads got RA commissions. We all get RA commissions (with some caveats) now, so the days of sacrificing the USAR-AD guys are gone. We're all in the same personnel bucket.
     
  17. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    (AF based answer)
    No. Commissioning source doesn't protect you. That said, only certain year groups are targeted, and recent grads haven't been in those groups yet.
     
  18. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    And Apollo bows to your wisdom on all things. As should I. That's a joke. Still say it is a great waste of money and talent if these officers are let go before five year obligation.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  19. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Yep, gone are the days of the ROTC USAR Active Duty being the sacraficial lambs for the RIF's

    Scout, the Oracle must get pretty darn desperate sometimes. Please know I'm just joking.
     
  20. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Delphic Oracle

    Talking about immunity from RIF, the ancient Delphic Oracles prophesied for over a thousand years. Their utterances were delivered in a trance-like state now believed to have been induced by hallucinogenic gases seeping from cracks in underground rock formations.

    The most likely explanation for the modern Oracle of the Condo at Delphi is that the project was built over an old landfill and methane gas is leaking upward. You may also want to check for radon.

    By the way the original oracles were supposed to have been virgins.
     

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