FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — After the 9/11 attacks, many Americans joined the military and headed to Afghanistan and Iraq. But as the wars wind down and Pentagon budgets shrink, thousands of young officers are being told they have to leave.
Captains are nervously waiting, their fates resting in the hands of evaluation boards that may quickly read through service records before making decisions that could end careers.
During the peak war years, the Army grew to about 570,000, including thousands of newly minted officers. The service must shrink to 490,000 by October 2015, and then to 450,000 two years later. While a lot of the reductions can come from voluntary retirements and decreased enlistments, commanders will have to force as many as 3,000 officers to leave by a year from this fall.