Color me unsurprised.
The Army expects to be short 2,500 captains and majors this year, with the number rising to 3,300 in 2007. These officers are the Army’s seed corn, the people who 10 years from now should be leading battalions and brigades.
“We’re ruining an Army that took us 30 years to build,” Republican maverick Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., told a group of reporters at a recent conference.
The Army denies the shortage is a crisis, but its top civilian, Francis J. Harvey, acknowledged concerns, telling the Washington Post: “We are worried.”
Harvey later downplayed the problem in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, saying the attrition rate is slightly above the average of 8 percent and is being countered by the production of new young officers.
Those outside the Army who are familiar with the problem say it must be reversed if the service is to avoid going “hollow” as it did in the wake of Vietnam, reaching the point where it couldn’t win wars.
The hard part is convincing officers to stay in after enduring two and even three combat deployments. </p