On my vacation today, and I just got off of a conference call with LTG Rochelle (Army G1).
The main points:
- There are 13,217 soldiers on Stop Loss status now.
- Approx 7000 are Active Duty, approx. 4,000 are National Guard, and approx. 2,000 are Reserve.
- The reasons for ending Stop Loss are:
- The Army has grown faster than planned.
- The Army wants to end the program (it's a last resort).
- Effective this August, the US Army Reserve will end Stop Loss.
- Effective this September, the National Guard will end Stop Loss.
- Effective January, 2010, the Active Duty component will end Stop Loss. (The last Active Duty Surge units come home in September which is why Stop Loss is needed to remain in place - 60 days+ after returning home).
- Congress has authorized additional pay for soldiers under Stop Loss:
- Soldiers under Stop Loss for the month of March will receive $500 on April 1st.
- Soldiers under Stop Loss between October 1st 2008 to February 28th 2009 will receive $500 per month retroactive and paid sometime in May or June in a lump sum.
- Soldiers under Stop Loss going forward will receive $500 per month (non-taxable if in a combat zone).
I asked LTG Rochelle how Congress and the Army came up with $500 as the amount. He said it was what Congress believed to be the amount needed. My question was not a judgement call on the amount. I was actually curious about how the number was arrived at...blame Kay Stice my former accounting professor (the best accounting prof on this planet even if he works at BYU).
John Donovan (also on vacation) asked the best question about unintended consequences of the ending of Stop Loss: How will the end of Stop Loss affect IRR call ups?
While you might reasonably expect it to increase IRR call ups to fill the spots of soldiers no longer Stop Lossed in place, LTG Rochelle said that he did not anticipate an increase in IRR call up activity. There will be more on this in the near future. The Army G1 people did not want to elaborate too much on it now.
As a former enlisted soldier and as a former commander, I wouldn't want any soldier along who didn't want to be there, but I also see the need for the program as the lesser of two evils. I'm glad it will be ending.
But, as for IRR call ups, that's part of the deal - you signed a contract and the IRR is part of that.