Originally published April 25, 2023 9:00 am PDT
The move follows recruitment and retention failures.
- A letter from multiple aviation officers alleges the U.S. Army is denying soldiers scheduled dischargers in a change of its terms of service.
- The denial of discharge follows recruitment and retention failures.
- In 2022, the Pentagon found that 77% of Americans between the ages of 17-24 are unfit to serve due to a variety of health or drug issues, while the Army also missed its 2022 target for recruitment by 25%.
- As an effort to combat recruitment struggles, the Army has reportedly changed its service requirement guidelines, according to a letter from aviation officers to Congress.
- The Daily Caller spoke with 3 out of the 61 officers trying to decipher the changes to the discharge process under anonymity, one officer saying the contract is “definitely a vague document.”
- “It’s telling when there are 130 people that all have the same complaint,” another officer said. “We know our names are going to be on that [letter]. I know in my heart I’m doing the right thing. This is what is best.”
- The primary issue of the updated guidelines is the Branch of Choice Program (BRADSO) requirements.
- Prior to the change, aviation officers served their three-year BRADSO simultaneously with their flight school Active-Duty Service Obligation.
- Under the new guidelines, BRADSO will follow the Active-Duty Service Obligation, resulting in an additional three years of service time.
FROM THE LETTER TO CONGRESS:
- “Beginning this past Fall, without explanation or forewarning, HRC began to deny Aviation Officer’s Release from Active Duty (REFRAD) claiming a newly legal interpretation of our service contract would require an additional service requirement of as much as three years, to include the possibility of further deployments and permanent changes of station,” the letter reads.
- “This abrupt change in policy is in direct contradiction with the Army regulation that governs officer ADSOs, U.S. Code, and was not done in good faith with the long-standing precedent set between HRC and servicemembers,” the letter continues.
- The officer explains the situation, noting that “[s]ince the inception of the Career Satisfaction Program, the Army has interpreted this as meaning the BRADSO (3 years) is applied consecutive to the USMA/ROTC requirement (5/4 years, respectively) and runs concurrently with the flight school ADSO(6 years AFTER the end of flight school.)”
- “HRC has since changed their interpretation to the BRADSO being applied consecutively to the flight school ADSO. While we have yet to receive an official update from the Aviation Branch at HRC, what they have told us centers on the first sentence of AR 350-100 (3-5)(e). HRC claims that since the flight school ADSO is statutorily defined (10 U.S.C. § 653(a)), and that AR 350-100 (3-5)(e) could imply that it be served consecutively after the flight school ADSO, that it must be so. However, that is not what the regulation states,” the letter also notes.
- “Even if that were what the regulation implies, that would directly contradict the actual language stating the ADSO is served after the officer’s commissioning ADSO.”
- In summation, the aviation officer argues the fundamental argument is that Army Aviators “have been misled by HRC, the USMA and ROTC Aviation Branch Representatives, and our Career Managers on the exact length of our service contract.”
- The U.S. military has not only faced recruitment issues, but has reported increased diagnoses of myocarditis, potentially affecting the health of servicemembers.
- Myocarditis diagnoses jumped 130% throughout 2021, compared to its rates between 2016-2020.
- Nervous system diseases increased by 9.5%, hypertension by 12.6%, and testicular cancer by 16.3% in 2021.