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This article is provided courtesy of Stars and Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Army IDs More Than 500 Senior NCOs for Separation

The U.S. Army has identified hundreds of senior noncommissioned officers for involuntary separation as the service advances toward reducing 80,000 soldiers from its ranks by 2018.

The number of senior NCOs identified for separation under the Army’s Qualitative Service Program has increased by more than 310 percent over last year’s figures.

During fiscal 2013, the Army identified 160 active-duty and Army Reserve senior NCOs for separation under the program. In contrast, this fiscal year’s numbers have topped 506 for the same demographic.

“Although every effort is made to minimize denial of continued service to quality NCOs, the Army can no longer retain soldiers in over-strength skills as we improve grade and [Military Occupational Specialty],” said Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, deputy chief of staff for personnel, in an email to the force.

“These soldiers are otherwise fully qualified for continued service and their selection by this force shaping process in no way diminishes their contributions to the Army,” Bromberg said.

The Army instituted its QSP in 2012 in an effort to identify a number of senior noncommissioned officers for possible separation in order to retain the best NCOs with the greatest potential for continued service, according to an Army statement.

While this year’s numbers are big, next year’s may be much higher. Bromberg warned in his email that in fiscal 2015 the Army expects to identify 1,000 for QSP separations. That equates to more than a 520 percent increase over figures for fiscal 2013.

Affected senior NCOs have until the first day of the 12th month from notification to separate, which Bromberg said allows families to take advantage of transition assistance programs.

Bromberg emphasized the importance of keeping leaders engaged in the process and treating those who must leave with dignity and respect.

“Our actions must coincide and be consistent with what we say -- we take care of our own,” he said.

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