According to the Associated Press the number of military officers who left the Army due to misconduct has tripled in the past three years. Not only that, but the number of enlisted soldiers kicked out due to drugs, alcohol and other crimes has shot up from 5,600 in 2007 to more than 11,000 last year alone.
Many believe that character standards were relaxed during the massive Army personnel build up during the years leading up to 2010. This was done largely to keep up with the required troops in Iran and Afghanistan.
During these wars, the Army grew to about 570,000 soldiers and now has a massive goal to cut this number to 490,000 by 2015. “When such massive reductions are taking place, it’s easier to be less tolerant to character issues as during a time that you need boots to fill for deployments” according to Larry Fowler, USMilitary.com. “When the personnel requirements from the previous wars begins to shrink, commanders can be much more selective about who is kicked out and who is allowed to stay.”
General Ray Odierno, the Army’s highest ranking officer, said that, “I wouldn’t say lack of character was tolerated in war, but the fact of the last 10 or 12 years of repeated deployments, of the high op-tempo – we might have lost focus on this issue.”
As a result, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are now calling ethics a priority and attempting to hold military leaders accountable. Such actions include launching initiatives aimed at identifying and dealing with problematic service members.
In 2010, reportedly 119 Army officers were forced to leave the Army due to misconduct compared to a staggering 387 in 2013.
All to say, with reduced quotas for military personnel combined with continued military budget cuts, watch for military enlistment requirements to get tougher and more restrictive.
Who knows, future recruits may discover it now takes only one or two strikes to get ‘out’.