Army Officer Exodus

May 5, 2000

News stories are beginning to surface of an exodus of young Army officers. This comes as little surprise to military analysts who say the Clinton administration's emphasis on peacekeeping missions and the imposition of social policies on service members are to blame.

The Pentagon shows officers in the ranks of captain and major are leaving the services at a rate over 10 percent a year. A survey of these officers found what many military analysts have been saying for some time: officers mistrusted senior leaders, didn't like peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, and had to cope with military spouses unhappy with long absences and frequent geographic moves.

Other factors no doubt also play into this exodus. For example, an expanding civilian economy also is enticing mid-grade officers away from the Army. And the feeling that the military has become a laboratory for social experimentation also contributes to the flight of officers.

Elaine Donnelly is the director of the Center for Military Readiness. She says, "Not having trust in the leadership is the ultimate in the demoralization of the military." She also believes there is a gap in credibility as evidenced by the leadership's exaggeration of the Army's combat readiness.

Robert Maginnis at the Family Research Council agrees. "Captains and majors understand that the reports being filed on readiness are not true representations of reality." He believes that "Our military needs to be larger than it is today if it's going to sustain a worldwide presence. The world is far more dangerous today than even during the Cold War era because it's far more unpredictable."

Congress and the Pentagon must address this flight of officers. And the voters must address it as well by electing a Commander in Chief who can regain the trust of the military and set military policy in the right direction.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.