Leadership: September 30, 2003

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Faced with an unprecedented shortage of troops in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Korea, the U.S. Army announced in mid September that it would pay a $5,000 bonus to enlisted soldiers in those areas if they re-enlisted before September 30th. Troops in Korea must also agree to stay an extra six months in Korea. While the army has not yet seen a decline in enlistments, or re-enlistments, it regularly conducts opinion surveys among the troops and knows that fatigue is setting in. It was learned during World War II that after a few months in a combat zone, your troops began to lose their effectiveness because of the stress and heavy work load. So while the troops now in combat zones will be going back to the United States soon, unless they can be convinced to re-enlist, it will take over a year, and a hundred thousand dollars, to train a replacement. The old World War II custom of giving troops 4-6 months training and sending them off to battle no longer works. American troops today are effective because they get a year or more of very effective training before they are sent overseas. This is time consuming and expensive, so it's actually cheaper to offer cash bonuses to get experienced troops to stay.

 


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