By C. Todd
Lopez, Army News Service
D.C. ó The Army
plans to phase out its reliance on stop-loss by January, leaders say.
of Defense Robert M. Gates announced a phased plan to begin cutting
off stop-loss later this year. During a discussion with members of the
press, Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, deputy chief of staff for Personnel,
G-1, discussed the Armyís plan to implement the phased reduction in
use of the program that involuntarily extends Soldiers beyond the end
of their enlistment or retirement dates in units deploying to combat
"Limiting stop-loss balances our need for unit
effectiveness with the impact on individual Soldiers and their
Gen. Michael Rochelle,
Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, G-1
has been a vital tool that has allowed the Army to sustain cohesive
operational forces that train and serve together through their
deployments," Rochelle said.
general said the presidentís recent announcement of a troop drawdown
in Iraq, a gradual restoration of balance between deployments, and an
increase in the size of the Army have given the service the
opportunity to reduce stop-loss.
said the number of Soldiers affected by stop-loss will be reduced, in
a phased approach, across all components of the Army. The Army Reserve
will begin mobilizing units without stop-loss in August, he said. For
the National Guard, that will happen in September. For the active-duty
Army, the change will happen in January.
is great news for the Army Family," Rochelle said. "Limiting
stop-loss balances our need for unit effectiveness with the impact on
individual Soldiers and their families."
also said the Army will implement a special congressionally approved
payment for Soldiers currently affected by stop-loss. Soldiers who are
under stop-loss this month will begin receiving a $500 per month
payment on top of their regular pay for the months they serve on
stop-loss. That payment will begin with their March pay, which
Soldiers will see in their April 1 check.
congressional approval also allows the Army to retroactively pay
Soldiers as far back as Oct. 1, 2008 for time served under stop-loss.
Most Soldiers that qualify to receive the retroactive payments will
receive that money in May or June as a lump-sum payment, Rochelle
the $500 per month payments for stop-loss time served in a combat
tax-exclusion zone will not be taxed, said Col. Larry Lock, Army
director of compensation and entitlements.
funds Congress appropriated for stop-loss pay are only for Fiscal Year
2009, which runs Oct. 1, 2008 through Sept. 30, 2009. Future funding
is being discussed.
pointed out that there is risk associated in eliminating the use of
stop-loss, such as an unexpected demand for forces beyond what the
Army anticipates. But he said such things as the projected reduction
of forces in Iraq will mitigate that risk.
not diminish the significance of the reduction in demand, anticipated
as a result of the drawdown in Iraq. The anticipated reduction in
demand, recently announced by President Obama, is a major
factor," Rochelle said. He added that were demand not so high for
Army forces around the world, the Army would eliminate stop-loss
additional factor in the Armyís ability to pare down its use of
stop-loss is that the service was able to meet its resize objectives
ahead of schedule.
Army has now achieved its end strength growth to its (547,400) end
strength, three years ahead of schedule," Rochelle said. "We
were on track and projected to achieve that growth through 2012 ó we
are there now."
he said, is the Armyís enterprise-wide approach to match up
accessions, individual training and leader development training with
the Armyís Force Generation. Rochelle said the Army will create a
policy to offer incentives to Soldiers to encourage them to extend
their enlistment beyond their date of separation in order to allow
them to stay with their unit for the duration of a deployment.
incentives would most likely be financial, said Maj. Gen. Gina
Farrisee, director of personnel management.
think it would be safe to say they will be monetary incentives, but
the policy has not been written yet as to what the incentives will
be," she said. "We would offer incentives for people to
extend through the deployment. We currently do not offer extensions.
You may re-enlist, and re-enlist only. We would now offer incentives
to extend through the deployment and we hope that that would help to
continue to fill the unit as needed."
are currently around 13,000 Soldiers affected by stop-loss within all
three components of the Army.
to Army officials, the active component has some 7,307 affected; the
National Guard has 4,458 affected Soldiers; and in the Army Reserve,
1,452 Soldiers are affected. Stop-loss is spelled out in Title 10,
United States Code, Section 12305(a).
law allowing the military services to implement stop-loss has not
changed, and the Army may again use the policy in the future if
extraordinary needs require it.