Morale: Help With Calculating Survival Odds


February10, 2007: The U.S. Air Force is going to great lengths to fire officers and troops as gently as possible. This considered good for everyones morale. The U.S. Navy and Air Force are going through some difficult times at the moment, because of the large personnel cuts they are carrying out. Most people expected personnel cuts at the end of the Cold War in 1991, and there were, indeed, a lot of laid off officers and troops in the early 1990s. But we're in the middle of a war right now, and there are layoffs? Well, yes. The air force and navy are both cutting at least ten percent of their personnel over the next five years. These two high-tech services are, like most commercial organizations, dealing with automation and outsourcing, in order to save money and remain competitive.

To ease the pain, the air force doubles the separation pay for those who voluntarily agree to leave early. Those who do not take this option, are left to compete with a number of other officers for the few jobs left. To make this matter easier to deal with, the air force has published detailed information on which officers (by years in service and job specialty) are at risk. From this, officers can calculate the percentage probability that they will be out of a job in the next year.

While the media makes much of "wartime recruiting problems" in the U.S. military, this is usually done using more smoke than fire. The military is still being very selective about who it lets in, and who it lets stay in. For most of the military, the problem isn't recruiting, but deciding who to keep.


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