An Enduring Officer Drawdown Framework

  • Colonel Firman H. Ray

The U.S. Army is reducing its force to the lowest end-strength since before World War II. Officers will experience directed and involuntary drawdown measures in order to meet targets required for proper Year Group management. Potential costs of involuntary separation include: damage to officer trust, commitment, and general esprit de corps; adverse effects on accessions and the retention of quality officers; and public and Congressional opposition. To the Army’s detriment, and despite their regular occurrence and import, there exists no strategic framework for the comprehensive planning and execution of force reductions or expansions. The Army would benefit from the efficiency and effectiveness provided by an effective, strategic and comprehensive officer drawdown framework that heeds lessons learned, uses a Year Group construct to pin-point excess inventory, develops and employs tailored force shaping measures to meet drawdown requirements, and provides for continuous monitoring and assessment of force reduction measures to keep the drawdown trajectory on path toward desired end states.