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View Full Version : Not breaking news to us, but...


Dan
07-20-2004, 23:08
...here it is anyway:

link (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=542&e=6&u=/ap/special_forces)

Many Elite Soldiers Leave for Better Pay

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Just when the U.S. military needs them most, senior Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other elite forces are leaving for higher-paying jobs.

After getting years of training and experience in the military, they leave for other government jobs or for what defense officials said Tuesday has been an explosion in outside contractor work.

"What makes them so valuable to us makes them highly marketable on the outside," said Chief Master Sgt. Robert V. Martens Jr., senior adviser at the U.S. Special Operations Command, which also oversees equipping and training elite Army Rangers and Air Force special operations commandos.

Better salaries, retirement benefits and educational opportunities are among incentives that might help stem the problem, defense officials said as they met with lawmakers to discuss ways to keep forces who have become so crucial to the war on terror.

A soldier, sailor or airman gets $60,000 per year at 18 years of service a figure that includes housing allowance and some types of special duty pay. Troops who go to work for civilian contractors can make up to $200,000 a year, one official has said.

The military command that oversees the covert forces "is the nation's single best weapon in the global war on terror," said Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J. Saxton opened Tuesday's session before his House Armed Services Committee terrorism subcommittee, saying he fears the military is losing such troops faster than they can be replaced for a counter-terror war that "has no foreseeable end point."

Officials from the command based in Tampa, Fla., didn't give specific numbers but said the Army, Navy and Air Force are all seeing an increasing trend in which senior people are retiring at their 20-year mark, though they could remain on active duty for several more years.

Force Master Chief Clell Breining, senior adviser at the Naval Special Warfare Command, said there has been a decline in people staying beyond the 10- to 14-year mark since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"We are not looking to retain every single person to their 30-year tenure, but we are looking to retain a key experience base to lead our younger, less experienced troops out into the field into combat," Martens said.

It can take four years just to train a special operations soldier and another few years of field experience before he or she is top-notch.

Martens said troops are taking "the skills that we have trained them with" and starting second careers in the civilian sector or moving into other government agencies.

The special operations command has been working with the services and the office of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to identify incentives to keep senior people, Martens said. Worse retention problems can be averted, he said.

To some extent the government has helped create the growing market outside its doors. Both the Defense Department and the CIA (news - web sites) have hired private contractors to cover their own manpower shortages, especially in skills such as linguistics and prisoner interrogation.

The military has contracted out some chores to save troops for soldiering duties. There are some 20,000 private security guards watching over U.S. officials, convoys and private workers in Iraq (news - web sites) some under government contract and some hired by private companies.

The CIA often uses independent contractors who are hired for short-term assignments. While they sometimes are recruited by and work through a private company, they can also be contracted directly by the agency.

Some of the private companies have been started and are led by retired generals, other military officers and former CIA employees.

Overall spending on federal contracts increased about 42 percent from 2000 to 2003 from $205 billion to $291 billion according to a report issued in May by Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee (news - web sites). The Army, Air Force and Navy accounted for 55 percent of all federal contract spending in 2003, he said.

The work of the military's special operations forces has greatly expanded in recent years, with them playing a central role in efforts to hunt down, capture or kill terrorists and help train other nation's forces in the counter-terror fight.

Special operations forces played a crucial part in helping local Afghan forces topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan (news - web sites) in 2001 and have figured prominently in the war in Iraq.

Since the war on terror started, the Pentagon (news - web sites) has gotten extra money to fund additional equipment for special operations as well as to train more forces.

There are currently under 50,000 such troops, including reservists, and there are plans to increase the total by a few thousand over the next several years.

AngelsSix
07-21-2004, 07:54
I wrote to the AP after that article asking them where they got the $60, 000 figure. The closest any 18 year soldier comes to that figure is and E-8 or 9 at 18 years. I let them know that it would not be fair to say that these folks are all getting out for the money, some of them are leaving for the freedom of choosing the types of work and when they want to work, etc. While the money is definitely better, the whole article had an officer's slant to it. The amounts quoted were not what the average E-5 or E_6 would be making. Also, who in there right mind would get out at 18 years?? Why not stick it out for two more years and get that second check plus the benefits of retirement.
I guess I thought there were too many seeming falacies in the way the story was written. Makes it look to the GP that soldiers are rolling in dough. :rolleyes:

brownapple
07-21-2004, 10:56
Originally posted by AngelsSix
the whole article had an officer's slant to it.


Standard 7th Group reply.

NousDefionsDoc
07-21-2004, 11:16
Originally posted by Greenhat
Standard 7th Group reply.

LOL - A CONVERT!

magician
07-21-2004, 11:48
Fine--but that does not mean that he is not correct.

And since when is a 7th Group mindset wrong?

:)

Dan
07-21-2004, 11:56
Originally posted by magician
And since when is a 7th Group mindset wrong?

:)

Since May 20, 1960 :D

brownapple
07-21-2004, 12:51
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
LOL - A CONVERT!

Let's just say it was appropriate to the situation.

NousDefionsDoc
07-21-2004, 12:54
Originally posted by Greenhat
Let's just say it was appropriate to the situation.

Most Roger Sir.

Airbornelawyer
07-21-2004, 13:46
I watched on CSPAN last night a rebroadcast of the hearings where CSM Hall, Chief Breining and the others testified. Some fluff, some interesting commentary, an attempt by the Democratic congresswoman who represents Coronado to score political points.

One thing I recall. CSM Hall noted that in both physical fitness standards and language standards, one problem is that the public education system is no longer producing the same caliber of recruit, so more has to be done at the beginning of the pipeline. Foreign languages and PE are pretty much electives in too many high schools.

On the other end, he noted that some of the bad things you hear about pay, family separation and the like are coming from retention surveys of people getting out, so they may be an unrepresentative sample.

The AFSOC Chief Master Sergeant did note that for his people, one big complaint wasn't the high optempo, but a lack of optempo at times which led to AFSOC assets being allocated to non-AFSOC missions (e.g., MC-130s shuttling supplies between Kuwait and Baghdad). Chief Breining echoed that, saying a problem in the SEAL community was not enough missions, not too many.

On PMCs, they all noted that market forces drive pay, and stated that the SOF community has good relations with the PMCs, who fill a role that otherwise SOCOM might have to task assets to. They seemed to be going out of their way not to give the Democratic members ammunition to demonize PMCs.

One of the committee members, Tom Kline, is a retired Marine colonel who once carried the "football", so it was nice to hear a Congressman who spoke the language of soldiers rather than politicians (even if he was - gasp! - an officer).

NousDefionsDoc
07-21-2004, 13:49
I wish we had CSpan.

The Reaper
07-21-2004, 13:52
AL:

Excellent post, good info.

Not sure that all the sources cited were sufficiently well-informed on the situation, specifically on the ARSOF side.

TR

CPTAUSRET
07-21-2004, 13:54
Originally posted by Airbornelawyer
I watched on CSPAN last night a rebroadcast of the hearings where CSM Hall, Chief Breining and the others testified.

One of the committee members, Tom Kline, is a retired Marine colonel who once carried the "football", so it was nice to hear a Congressman who spoke the language of soldiers rather than politicians (even if he was - gasp! - an officer).

Not an officer, horrors!!!

Terry

Airbornelawyer
07-21-2004, 14:16
Originally posted by CPTAUSRET
Not an officer, horrors!!!

Terry Worse. Col. Kline was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

CPTAUSRET
07-21-2004, 14:18
Originally posted by Airbornelawyer
Worse. Col. Kline was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.

Whoa...That's about as bad as it gets.

Terry

magician
07-21-2004, 14:51
Not unless he ALSO has bayonet wounds.

:)

CPTAUSRET
07-21-2004, 16:15
Originally posted by magician
Not unless he ALSO has bayonet wounds.

:)

magician:

Thank you, Brother.

Terry:)

The Reaper
07-21-2004, 17:05
Originally posted by magician
Not unless he ALSO has bayonet wounds.

:)

Now THAT IS flying low and slow!

TR

CPTAUSRET
07-21-2004, 17:09
Originally posted by The Reaper
Now THAT IS flying low and slow!

TR

TR:

That's funny!!:D

Terry

AngelsSix
07-21-2004, 20:22
Okay, Seeing as I don't understand exactly why NDD wants an apology....here.....I apologize as per your PM. I am sending one back.

NousDefionsDoc
07-22-2004, 08:55
Let me see if I can explain it.

"the whole article had an officer's slant to it."

What is an officer's slant? Do they get together every year at the Officer's Secret Meeting to Plot Against the Troops (OSMTPAT) and have the Slant Committee put forth slant ideas and then vote on the Officer's Slant for the Year? (OSY04) Is it a secret or open ballot?

Officers are among those leaving.

That is a baseless comment painting a large and diverse group with a very broad brush. IMO of course.

VMI_Marine
07-22-2004, 18:07
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
What is an officer's slant? Do they get together every year at the Officer's Secret Meeting to Plot Against the Troops (OSMTPAT) and have the Slant Committee put forth slant ideas and then vote on the Officer's Slant for the Year? (OSY04) Is it a secret or open ballot?

:eek: *GASP!*

They know!

Footmobile
07-22-2004, 19:17
So that's where you guys go at 1600 every Friday.....sip brandy, smoke cigars and plot on the enlisted man eh?:D

Solid
07-22-2004, 19:29
It's even on the ROTC syllabus...

magician
07-23-2004, 06:13
this is why I was such a terrible officer.

I was still a sergeant at heart.

:)

NousDefionsDoc
07-23-2004, 07:59
Originally posted by magician
this is why I was such a terrible officer.

I was still a sergeant at heart.

:)

Somehow I doubt you were ever "terrible" at anything you ever tried Brother.

magician
07-23-2004, 10:08
Brother, thanks for the vote of confidence....but, I suck.

I know it, and spend my days trying to be a better man.

It is ok. I have met some folks who suck worse than I do. It gives me hope that maybe I am making some progress.

If nothing else, I am not in denial. And I am working on it.

:)

Back on topic, though, the moment that I realized that I was not like the other officers in my 18A course was when I looked inside and knew that I would not stab my classmates in the back to get the Buck. Those fuckers were brutal! No loyalty. Well....ok. Some loyalty. Until rating time rolled around.

I blame the rating system with the "top-block." Some of those guys would do anything to get that top-block. Lie, cheat or steal?Hah. Some of those guys lied, cheated, and in one fashion or another, engaged in outright thievery.

We had one guy, a guy who was actually pretty fucking cool named Lee, who wore a Ranger tab throughout the entire course. The day before graduation, he was unmasked as a poser. He never graduated Ranger school.

Well, the schmoes who were running SWC at that time let the muldoon graduate. Yup. He commanded an ODA.

Fuck that. But it really happened.