Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Perspective: Officer shortage looming in Army

Cadets at West Point

WEST POINT, N.Y. — The Army, forced by five years of war to expand its ranks, faces a critical shortage of midlevel officers, interviews and military records show.

Those officers — majors and lieutenant colonels — manage troops at war. The Army estimates it has about 13,900 majors and 8,750 lieutenant colonels this year. It expects to have an annual shortage of 3,000 such officers through 2013 as it increases its ranks by 40,000 soldiers.

Beyond the shortage of midlevel officers looms an impending shortage of entry-level officers — lieutenants — from the U.S. Military Academy and university Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs. Last year, 846 cadets graduated from West Point; the goal was 900. There were 25,100 enrolled in ROTC out of a goal of 31,000, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress' investigative agency.

Read the rest at USA Today