Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1992



Active duty and civilian personnel bore the brunt of the cuts in the Army during FY 1992. To encourage voluntary departures from the service and thereby reduce the number of involuntary losses, the Army turned to several programs, notably the Voluntary Early Transition (VET), Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI), and Special Separation Benefit (SSB). In the end, these programs were so successful that the Army actually encountered shortages of personnel in several specialties.

Reductions in Active Military Strength

With the end of the Cold War, the Army contained more soldiers than were authorized, as reductions in force structure exceeded losses from normal retirements and completed tours of service. The Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Army accordingly approved a plan for fiscal years 1990-95 to reduce Army end strength primarily through voluntary separations and secondarily through involuntary measures. During FY 1992, the Army used a number of programs to reshape the Army, including Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), Retention Control Point (RCP) changes, Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) mandated reductions, and Enhancement of CONUS Contingency Corps (EC3). The most important programs, however, were the VET, VSI, and SSB. Approximately 64,000 soldiers took advantage of these three programs during the fiscal year.

Under the VET program, soldiers who had completed three or more years of service could request voluntary separation without regard to expiration of term of service. Soldiers who possessed critical skills or served in Cohesion, Operational Readiness, and Training (COHORT) units were ineligible. The first lieutenant colonel in the soldier's chain of command approved or turned down the application, and any recommendations for disapproval had to go to PERSCOM. The program was intended to run from 7 October 1991 through 30 March 1992.

The National Defense Authorization Act, adopted in December 1991, provided for programs to assist in maximizing voluntary separations. In January 1992, the Army added the VSI, SSB, and the Excellence in


Retention Program (ERP) to the VET. The VSI offered an annual annuity payment equal to 2.5 percent of the soldier's base pay multiplied by the number of years of active service. A soldier would receive his VSI payment for twice the number of years he had active service. The SSB provided a lump sum payment equal to 15 percent of the soldier's annual basic pay times the number of years of the soldier's active service. To be eligible for the VSI and SSB, which the Army lumped into a common program, soldiers must have completed at least six years of active federal service as of 5 December 1991 and have served at least five years of continuous active duty immediately prior to the date of separation. The VSI/SSB stressed maximum approvals while accepting the inherent risk of a personnel shortfall, especially in the ranks of staff sergeant and sergeant. To maximize voluntary losses and reduce involuntary separations, the Secretary of the Army extended the VSI/SSB application window from 29 February to 1 May 1992.

The results of these programs exceeded the Army's expectations. Approximately 100,000 soldiers left the Army during the fiscal year, with more than 52,000 of them departing under the VSI/SSB and VET programs. These actions left the Army's end strength closer to 610,000 than the anticipated 640,000. Personnel readiness and Authorized Level of Organization (ALO) decreased significantly during the summer, when the bulk of the soldiers separated from the Army under these programs. Because the Army could not match the unexpectedly rapid reduction in personnel with a corresponding decrease in authorized positions, it faced a shortage of soldiers to meet requirements. MOS shortages were expected to continue in future fiscal years.

To ensure readiness, the Chief of Staff decided to classify Personnel Planning Group (PPG) 1 and 2 units—the Contingency Force and the 2d Infantry Division, and the Echelon Above Division Support Package 1—as having priority on resources. All other units would share the remaining resources. The Army leadership expected that personnel readiness would level out through the first quarter of FY 1993 as the remainder of the "early out" losses departed and the training base began to graduate soldiers from Advanced Individual Training (AIT). The Chief of Staff's guidance should help priority units attain the ALO. However, the ALO for the Army's remaining units was expected to decrease during the next fiscal year unless the Army's force structure was reduced to a level equal to its operating strength.

In sum, active duty end strength declined during the year from 710,233 to 610,450, a drop of about 14 percent. Active duty end strength was scheduled to fall to 520,000 by FY 1996, a cumulative reduction of more than 26 percent for the 1992-96 period. Civilian manpower fell during FY 1992 from 352,254 to 327,515, a reduction of 7 percent. (Table 9 shows the actual numbers of soldiers and civilians.)




Beginning FY 92

End FY 92

























Enlisted Personnel


The success of the Army's voluntary separation program enabled the service to increase the number of new soldiers. In March, the Army increased its annual accessions from 65,000 to 75,000. During the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, the DCSPER requested that the U.S. Recruiting Command increase enlistments to 77,500.

Whether the Army could maintain the high quality of enlistees while increasing the number of them remained to be seen. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Army had continually improved the quality of its enlisted strength. Indeed, the caliber of recruits entering the service during FY 1992 was the highest in the history of the all-volunteer Army. Of the 77,783 enlistees, the 76,095 accessions with no prior service were all high school graduates, and almost 78 percent of these scored in the upper half of the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). Less than half a percent were in the lowest category (CAT IV) allowed for enlistment. During FY 1992 an additional 22,176 individuals committed to enter the Army during the following fiscal year. Almost 96 percent of this group were high school graduates, with 73.3 percent testing in the upper half of the AFQT and only 4.2 percent in Category IV

Reenlistment and Retention

The requirement to reshape the force in the 1990s led to changes in the Total Army Retention Program. During FY 1992, the Army required commanders to initiate "bars to reenlistment proceedings" or separation actions for soldiers who did not make satisfactory progress in the Weight Control Program, failed two consecutive Physical Fitness Tests, or were removed for cause from any Noncommissioned Officer Education System course. The Army changed the intervals between bars to reenlistment


reviews from every six months to every three months and kept the requirement to initiate a separation action if a second review did not remove the bar. The Army designed these changes, which it implemented in FY 1992, to protect quality soldiers, minimize turbulence, maintain readiness, and ensure that the Army could meet its mandated end strength.

The Army shortened the normal window for reenlistment eligibility to a period between eight months and three months prior to the end of the current enlistment. The former window had started eleven months prior to the end of the current enlistment and ended when a soldier was one day less than three months from the end of that enlistment. Only the Commander of PERSCOM could approve reenlistment after this period. The Army hoped that the new window would increase readiness through the better filling of unit vacancies.

The Army also made a number of changes in its policy on Retention Control Points (RCP). The RCP represents the total number of years of service that a soldier may remain in the Army unless he or she is promoted to the next higher grade. The new control points shortened the period a soldier could remain in the Army at the same rank. Table 10 shows the change in Retention Control Points for staff sergeant (SSG [P]), sergeant, first class (SFC), SFC (P), first sergeant, and master sergeant, effective 1 February 1992.

















* Numbers equal total years of active federal service.

The Army reduced the RCP for soldiers in the rank of specialist promotable from thirteen years of total active federal service to eight years, effective 1 October 1992. The new RCP policy required those specialists affected by the change to leave the Army no later than 30 September 1992, although it did allow some prior-service soldiers to reenter the Army for a period that, when added to previous service, exceeded the new RCP. Units had to report these prior-service soldiers to PERSCOM, which could authorize retention beyond the new RCP or order separation either on 30 September 1992 or at the new RCP To help fill critically short military occupational specialties (MOS), the Army made an exception to the RCP program by allowing soldiers to attend training and extend their enlist-


ments beyond the new RCP if they received a promotion to the rank of sergeant within thirty days of graduation. Those who did not complete training or receive a promotion would depart immediately or at the normal RCP, if it came later.

PERSCOM based reenlistment options upon a soldier's Primary Military Occupational Specialty (PMOS). The Army offered almost all reenlistment options except retraining to soldiers in PMOSs that were understrength or at full strength, but it limited those in overstrength PMOSs to the Army Service School Reenlistment Option or the Regular Army Reenlistment Option. Soldiers in overstrength MOSs designated for retention control could reenlist only with the consent of PERSCOM, which could approve a soldier's reenlistment in the current PMOS, order retraining, or deny his request. A key factor in PERSCOM's decision was the battalion commander's recommendation. Even if a soldier's performance did not justify a bar to reenlistment, commanders could recommend that PERSCOM deny a soldier's request for reenlistment, although they had to justify all recommendations for denial. When Phase I of the Excellence in Retention Program ended in July 1992, PERSCOM had approved 14,207 (91 percent) soldiers for retention in their current MOS, authorized 441 (3 percent) soldiers for retraining, and denied retention to 967 (6 percent). Denial and retraining percentages were low because of the success of the FY 1992 voluntary transition programs. In the second phase of the Excellence in Retention Program, PERSCOM concentrated on reclassifying soldiers into targeted understrength MOSs.

In the end, the Army reached 96.5 percent of its initial term reenlistment objective of 25,321 for FY 1992, as 24,442 soldiers signed up for another term. The Army surpassed its mid-career active component objective of 27,052 by 38 soldiers and exceeded the reserve component objective (18,000) by 50 percent (27,361).

Enlisted Distribution

With the end of the Cold War and the reduction of forces in Europe, the Army revised its policy on enlisted distribution. In the past, the Army had given priority on available personnel to forward-deployed overseas units. The Gulf War, however, showed the need for a large, mobile, stateside-based force that could respond quickly to crises anywhere in the world. This force would obviously require a high degree of personnel readiness. The new distribution policy required the Army to fill the 82d Airborne Division at 102-100 percent of authorization. The rest of the contingency force, as well as the 2d Infantry Division, stationed in Korea, would maintain at 100-98 percent of authorization. Noncontingency forces—second echelon deploying units with time to mobilize—would draw on the remaining soldiers and absorb any personnel shortages.


The many programs to reduce enlisted end strength placed a strain on the personnel replacement system, and consequently on enlisted distribution. As a result of those programs, normal rules for the processing of requisitions were effectively suspended, and the number of authorized and actual enlisted soldiers in all MACOMs fluctuated. Unable to project accurately strength figures one year into the future, personnel managers struggled to maintain readiness in priority units with understrength MOSs. The Army expected that continuous unit moves and renewed "early out" programs in FY 1993 would keep Career Management Field (CMF) managers juggling the enlisted force. Truly stabilized tours would not become a reality until FY 1994 or beyond.

Significant Changes in Career Management Fields and Military Occupational Specialties

As the Army reshaped, its soldiers would need to become "generalists" rather than "specialists," possessing proficiency in more skills than in the past. A shrinking budget, reduced force structure, and declining personnel strength drove this change. Despite the obvious challenges, the Army's leadership believed that the quality and intelligence of soldiers would make the emphasis on versatility possible.

Seeking the best use of available personnel, the Army consolidated several military occupational specialties. To accommodate the deployment of mobile subscriber equipment, the Signal Corps formed three new MOSs and eliminated nine. The introduction of common sensor systems and pending inactivation of the OV-1D Mohawk led to the consolidation of two electronic warfare maintenance MOSs into a single military intelligence aviation maintenance specialty, effective in FY 1994. Also in the aviation field, the integration of systems on the AH-64 Apache caused the Army to combine the armament/missile systems repair and electrician specialties in a new MOS, and PERSCOM initiated the Aviation Apprentice Mechanic Program to test the feasibility of training Skill Level (SL) 1 aviation mechanics as generic mechanics capable of repairing all Army aircraft. President Bush's reduction of the number of nuclear weapons in September 1991 caused the Army to reclassify approximately 800 soldiers in two nuclear MOSs and to implement plans to retrain or separate from the service about 1,500 Lance missile crewmen. In December 1991, the DCSPER approved the Chief of Ordnance's proposal to consolidate the MOSs for depot support and general support armament repair. The Quartermaster School, while changing Army regulations to provide greater job diversity and promotion opportunities, consolidated four MOSs into a single automated logistics specialty.

Other MOSs endured either reductions or redistributions in authorized strength, although actual cuts often proved to be less than antici-


pated. Because of changing strategic intelligence requirements, the Signal Corps expected authorizations for strategic systems repairers to decline by 28 percent during the fiscal year, but in the end a late decision regarding the closure of the Berlin field station minimized the actual reduction. At the same time, the Army modified its plans to reduce the ground surveillance systems operator MOS to 225 spaces in the wake of ongoing demand pending the introduction of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. PERSCOM's Military Intelligence Branch did make major reductions in several language skill specialties, reclassifying many into the counterintelligence MOS. The Army also reclassified eighty-one personnel authorizations in the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion within CMF 18 (Special Operations). In addition, the Director of the Enlisted Personnel Management Division of PERSCOM took steps to realign proportionally by MOS authorizations within the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

Several other MOSs were affected by the downsizing and the Army's various separation programs. The large reductions in some ordnance mechanical maintenance MOSs as a result of those programs caused PERSCOM to increase its introductory training in several MOSs that, in turn, created an instructor shortage at several bases. High separation rates from VET and VSI programs also created shortages in critical skills within the military police MOS, a deficiency that will last for years. As a result of the CFE force reductions, planners told U.S. Army Intelligence Command to remove and redistribute approximately 800 USAREUR spaces by the end of 1993. INSCOM interpreted this change to be cuts and, as a result, significantly reduced training slots and accessions in several MOSs for the FY 1993 programs. The success of the Army's "early out" programs also contributed to a temporary shortage of CMF 11 (Infantry) in several MOSs, leading PERSCOM and the Enlisted Infantry Branch to obtain an expansion of the training program at the Army Infantry Training Center, an increase in the promotion rate to fill vacated NCO positions, and approval for Selective Reenlistment Bonuses (SRBs) for MOSs most affected by early transition programs. The Army's efforts to downsize, as well as delays in the introduction of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the AVENGER, also created shortages in several Air Defense Artillery (ADA) MOSs, which PERSCOM and the Enlisted ADA Branch sought to remedy through SRBs and an expansion of the training requirements at the ADA Center.

The Army reviewed its training requirements as part of the effort to obtain more parachutists. In the late 1980s, the Army had instituted a series of programs to reveal by MOS the requirements for parachutist accession and training for SL 1 soldiers in the active Army. The model listed Army parachutists by age and grade. The shortfall between this inven-


tory and the Army's goals for parachutists became the annual requirement for the MOS. PERSCOM reviewed each requirement and sent the results to the Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate for final adjustment. For FY 1992, the model established a goal of 150 percent of airborne authorizations for the grades of sergeant to sergeant major in all MOSs except for those in CMF 18 and two MOSs.

Combat operations in Southwest Asia provided the Army with an unprecedented opportunity to capture data on task performance and lessons learned at the MOS and grade level in order to shape future job classification and training requirements. In March 1991, USAPIC—now the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel Integration, PERSCOM—had asked various personnel-related agencies to provide occupational identifiers critical to the success of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM. The proponents recommended the survey of 104 identifiers, but Army Headquarters approved funding for the analysis of 35 identifiers by the MANDEX Corporation and funding for PERSCOM to study 40 additional identifiers. As of 30 September 1992, PERSCOM had developed and distributed fifty questionnaires for the survey. The Army hoped that the returned questionnaires would relate task performance to mission accomplishment. The analysis would begin during the first quarter of FY 1993.

Reduction in Force

During FY 1992, the Army sought to reduce its enlisted strength as part of its drive toward an FY 1995 end strength of 435,000. Between 1 October 1991 and 30 April 1992, the VET program reduced the enlisted force by 26,583 soldiers. Table 11 provides additional data on the VET.





Original ETS > FY 1992



Primary Grades


Rank of SGT




Rank of SPC


























American Indian










Largest Concentrations


Fort Hood, TX




Fort Bragg, NC


Fort Campbell, KY


Fort Carson, CO


Fort Riley, KS




Fort Lewis, WA


Fort Polk, LA


The VET encountered several problems. In its goal of encouraging early departures, it was too successful, as the number of applications far exceeded expectations. To make matters worse, PERSCOM was unaware of the large number of soldiers separating under this program during the first three months because field commanders did not report many of the approved applications. This glitch resulted in shortages in enlisted end strength and had an adverse impact on readiness in several specialties, forcing the Army to raise recruiting targets and attempt to increase training slots at a time when TRADOC also faced strength reductions.

After determining that thousands more soldiers than expected had opted for the program, PERSCOM suspended it as of 17 January. The agency reinstated the program on 1 February 1992 as VET Phase II, which limited eligibility to soldiers in twenty high-density, significantly overstrength specialties and required all applications to go to PERSCOM for approval. As was the case with Phase I, the Phase II program worked under specific restrictions concerning soldiers awaiting involuntary separation, soldiers in PPG 1 or PPG 2, and soldiers on short tours. The application period lasted to 30 April.

While the VSI/SSB and ERP programs were highly successful in getting soldiers to leave voluntarily, resulting in the release of 23,209 enlisted soldiers under the VSI/SSB and 650 under the ERP, they encountered several problems. Applications from eligible NCOs above the grade of sergeant with nine or more years of active service exceeded the drawdown targets. Officials approved all applications that were submitted on time, which amounted to more than 10,000. This step resulted in major short-term shortages in numerous specialties, a temporary degradation of readiness, and a need to increase the rate of promotions to make up the shortfalls. As was the case with the VET, significant underreporting of locally approved applications exacerbated the problem. Field staffs erroneously approved applications that they should have forwarded to PERSCOM and incorrectly approved some applications from soldiers who did not meet the statutory requirements. Soldiers who did not meet the statutory


requirements received from PERSCOM the option of reassignment or separation without the VSI or SSB payment.

The late receipt of several applications also caused problems. In many cases, the soldier applied within prescribed time frames, but the local command did not process it in a timely manner. PERSCOM returned most late applications without further action, because the Army had far exceeded its drawdown targets. Many soldiers expressed dissatisfaction at thus being ineligible for the early separation incentives by writing to Congress. At the height of the problem, the Army received as many as 50 or 60 congressional/executive letters per week. In the end, the Army revised the VSI/SSB programs for FY 1993 to require the forwarding of all applications to PERSCOM for approval.

In October 1991, the DCSPER approved an Enlisted Selective Early Release Board (SERB) to reduce the active duty strength of command sergeants major and sergeants major (CSM/SGM) by no more than 30 percent in order to bring the grade into alignment with a smaller Army. The first CSM/SGM SERB convened the following January in conjunction with the CSM/SGM Promotion Selection Board. Prior to convening the SERB, the Army allowed Regular Army CSMs/SGMs with a date of rank of 31 January 1991 or earlier and a Basic Active Service Date of 31 August 1963 to 31 August 1966 to submit voluntary retirements with an effective date of no later than 1 February 1993. A total of 176 CSMs/SGMs voluntarily retired rather than undergo consideration by the SERB. After the SERB made its choices, those selected by the SERB were notified by the first general officer in their chain of command and given the option to retire. Under the plan, PERSCOM would involuntarily separate on 1 September 1992 any CSMs/SGMs who did not opt to retire. In the end, all of the CSMs/SGMs selected by the SERB opted to retire in lieu of involuntary separation. Also, media publicity, coupled with the prospect of a SERB in FY 1993, caused unprecedented numbers of CSMs/SGMs to apply for voluntary retirement during FY 1992.

The drawdown significantly affected the numbers of CSMs/SGMs selected for promotion. PERSCOM selected 161 soldiers for CSM and 344 for SGM for the fiscal year—a considerably lower figure than the Army had chosen in recent years. By June 1992, it was obvious that the number of soldiers selected for appointment or promotion to CSM/SGM would not meet the needs of the Army until the release of the FY 1993 CSM/SGM Promotion Selection Board list. In June 1992, ODCSPER decided, based upon projected strength figures, to reschedule the FY 1993 CSM/SGM Promotion Selection Board for September 1992 rather than January 1993. ODCSPER provided the board with a promotions goal that was, by virtue of its size, indicative of the extent to which retirements had reduced the projected strength of the CSM/SGM grades.


Army planners also discovered that they lacked a valid loss rate to use for future projections of losses in the SGM Select Objective Review. Recent historical loss rates had been distorted by the stop-loss program employed during Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, the announcement and conduct of the FY 1992 SERB, and the management of the drawdown. PERSCOM's Force Plans Branch under its Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Analysis divided currently known losses into normal retirements and retirements in lieu of SERB consideration and used these figures to modify historical loss rates. The branch used the results to provide a valid loss rate in strength projections through FY 1994 for SGMs. Analysis of projected strength compared to future authorizations concluded that an FY 1993 SERB for SGMs would not be necessary.

Women in the Army

As of the end of July 1992, the active Army contained 75,711 women, about 11.9 percent of the force, whereas the Army National Guard included 31,558, about 7.4 percent of its composition, and the Army Reserve had 57,449, about 20.8 percent of that force. More than 90 percent of all Army career fields and 61 percent of all Army positions were open to women. Army policy continued to exclude women from those battalions or smaller units whose mission was to engage the enemy in direct combat. This policy effectively closed infantry, armor, cannon artillery, short-range air defense, combat engineers, and combat aviation to women. The Army also excluded female soldiers from positions and units that routinely operated on the battlefield alongside direct combat units.

Equal Opportunity and Minority Representation

Minorities continued to be a substantial part of the Total Army. Minority representation remained at about 38 percent of the total active force. African Americans, the largest minority group, constituted approximately 29 percent of the end strength.

The Army continued its commitment to equal opportunity. In late 1991, the Secretary of the Army sent independent human resource consultants to Europe to conduct a "climate assessment" and to investigate allegations of racial inequality made by the chairman of the Civil Rights Commission. In 1992, the Secretary instituted the same type of assessment at stateside posts. Based on these investigations and data from the Army's equal opportunity program, the DCSPER's office developed a Sexual Harassment/Equal Opportunity Action Plan to address apparent weaknesses in the equal opportunity program.


Officer Personnel

Officer Strength and Grade Distribution

The overall officer end strength for FY 1992 was 94,845, or 39 below the Budgeted End Strength (BES). Officer strength dropped by 7,396 during the year. The reduction came from early retirements, officers selected by the RIF board, officers electing the VSI or SSB programs, officers departing through the Voluntary Early Release/Retirement Program (VERRP), officers leaving after not being selected by the lieutenant retention board, and natural attrition (Table 12).



Beginning of FY 1992

End of FY 1992


































Officer Accessions by Source

The FY 1991 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Army to reduce officer accessions to a level that would support a force of 520,000 personnel. In all, the Army commissioned 3,620 of an authorized 3,700 officers. Of these, 925 came from the United States Military Academy, 299 from Officer Candidate School, and 2,396 from ROTC.

Officer Retirements and Departures

During FY 1992, a total of 6,873 officers received approval for retirement, a 48 percent increase from FY 1991. Under the VSI, the Army approved 2,035 officers for release from active duty. Another 2,824 retirements came through the SSB. The Army continued from FY 1991 the VERRP, which approved and processed 1,334 officers for release from active duty. SERBS selected 1,644 officers for release. Finally, under congressional mandate, the Army conducted several Reduction in Force (RIF)


boards, through which it selected and processed 245 company and field grade officers for release.

The Army wanted no officer who met Army standards to face involuntary separation as a result of the downsizing without being first offered the opportunity to apply for the VSI/SSB program. The VSI/SSB offered officers various financial incentives for separation. This program also included such benefits as job counseling, transition health care, extended commissary and PX privileges, extended use of family housing and DOD schools, permissive TDY, priority in affiliating with the reserves, transportation entitlement, and one-year storage of household goods.

To encourage officers to leave, the Army also continued from FY 1991 the VERRP. It was available to all officers except certain aviator, Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Army Nurse Corps, Army Medical Specialist Corps, Veterinary Corps, and Medical Service Corps personnel and AMEDD warrant officers. The DCSPER's office processed VERRP applications and kept a close eye on end strength targets for each year group, grade, branch, functional area, and competitive category as well as the needs of the service. During FY 1992, the Army conducted the VERRP in two phases. During the first application period from 1 September to 15 November 1991, the VERRP Board approved 878 of 915 applications. During the second application period, from 17 January to 1 April 1992, the board approved 456 and disapproved 38 applications. All of the officers approved for separation under VERRP had to leave the Army no later than 30 September 1992.

In support of the drawdown, the Secretary of the Army directed the convening of SERBs under the provisions of Title 10, U.S. Code. The FY 1992 SERBs, which met in January 1992, considered all colonels with two years or more time in grade and lieutenant colonels, majors, and captains who had served more than eighteen years as of 1 January 1992; were not on a list of officers recommended for promotion; and did not have an approved voluntary or mandatory retirement date in fiscal years 1992 or 1993. Special Branch SERBs also met during the same month. Officers under consideration by the SERBs received offers for voluntary retirement with effective dates through 31 January 1993. Those who accepted were removed by PERSCOM from consideration, and the Army changed the SERB requirement to meet field grade strength limits for FY 1992. In the end, the SERBs identified 1,654 officers managed by PERSCOM's Officer Personnel Management Directorate and 84 Special Branch officers for early retirement. Flag officers notified each of these 1,738 officers in late March 1992. By the end of FY 1992, 1,515 had retired, and the remainder departed upon becoming eligible for retirement.


During FY 1992, a RIF board also considered captains of year group 1982 and majors of year group 1978 for involuntary separation. The FY 1991 National Defense Authorization Act and Title 10, U.S. Code, authorized involuntary separation of officers during a RIF or when the Secretary of the Army determined that it was necessary to correct a grade imbalance or a surplus. The Army offered all officers the chance to participate in either the VSI or SSB programs prior to convening the RIF board. It cancelled the captains RIF board after voluntary separations under the VSI/SSB reduced the FY 1992 end strength for captains to the desired level.

The number of majors voluntarily separating under VSI/SSB, however, was too small to cancel the majors board, which convened in March 1992 at PERSCOM Headquarters. The board considered all majors whose ranks dated between 2 July 1989 and 1 March 1991, who had served at least one year of active duty in their current grade as of 1 March 1992, who had less than fifteen years of active federal service as of 30 September 1992, and who were not on a promotion list or eligible within two years for retirement. The board considered 1,873 majors and selected 244 for separation. PERSCOM notified the MACOM commanders, and in June the MACOMs notified those officers selected for involuntary separation. Although the majors were required to leave the Army by 29 September 1992, commanders could extend officers on active duty due to operational or personal hardship reasons for up to 120 days.

To aid assignment officers, PERSCOM's Officer Personnel Management Directorate assessed the results of the FY 1992 major RIF board and the voluntary separation program for majors to determine those officers most likely to be at risk in future RIFs. The study found a direct correlation between retention on active duty and selection for the Command and General Staff College. It concluded that this correlation should apply also to the FY 1993 program.

The Officer Personnel Management Directorate also assessed the impact on the Army of FY 1992 voluntary and involuntary retirement programs for colonels and lieutenant colonels. The study concluded that few reached the traditional 28- and 30-year Mandatory Retirement Dates (MRD) for lieutenant colonel and colonel, respectively, and that, as a consequence, the Army was losing a great deal of its senior experience in these grades.

Officer Management

During the fiscal year, the military services reviewed Title IV, "Joint Officer Management," a part of the Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986, for possible changes in the size and composition of the Joint Duty Assignment List (JDAL). The Army, concerned


about General Colin Powell's return of the FY 1992 Colonels Promotion List because of its failure to achieve statutory promotion objectives, studied the issues in especially great detail. Each service submitted a number of proposals to the JCS and OSD, but no definite action resulted. The large personnel turnover in the JCS and OSD at the end of the fiscal year delayed the review and left the services without direction.

During the fiscal year, the Army also moved to revise its professional development guide for the officer corps, DA Pamphlet 600-3. Substantially unchanged since 1987, the document required a complete revision, because OPMS II could not accommodate the changing demands being placed upon the officer corps and because the existing narrowly defined development paths and qualification criteria did not allow officers much flexibility in deviating from the traditional career development path. The new DA Pam 600-3 established new development paths and qualification levels for all branches and, for the first time, for functional areas. The revision also included the Army Acquisition Corps and Joint Professional Military Education (JPME). The new qualification standards and development paths will not only allow the selection and promotion of officers who have followed nontraditional career paths but also allow an officer sufficient time to acquire the skills necessary for higher levels of responsibility within that discipline. ODCSPER planned to publish the revised DA Pam 600-3 in April 1993.

Commissioning of Army Physician Assistants

The Defense Authorization Act that President Bush signed into law in December 1991 provided for the Physician Assistant (PA) Commissioning Program. The creation of this program was the culmination of about ten years of lobbying by the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the active backing of Lt. Gen. Frank Ledford, the Army's Surgeon General. It authorized the commissioning of Army physician assistants into the Army Medical Specialist Corps, created a fourth Assistant Chief of the Army Medical Specialist Corps to supervise the Physician Assistant Section, and changed Title 10, U.S. Code, to authorize the program.

The Army moved quickly to implement the program. On 4 February 1992, almost 300 Army PAs received their commissions in concurrent ceremonies around the world. By the close of FY 1992, some 400 Army PAs had received commissions, nearly doubling the size of the Army Medical Specialist Corps, and more of the almost 150 warrant officer PAs remaining on active duty could obtain commissions during the transition period. PERSCOM and the AMEDD Personnel Proponency Directorate at the AMEDD Center and School shared responsibility for managing the transition, which will continue until l December 1996. Prior to their commissioning, PAs needed a baccalaureate degree and certification by the


National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. The Army moved to integrate commissioned PAs into the AMEDD Promotion Plan, and for the first time they will compete for promotion as commissioned officers during FY 1993. As part of the change, the Office of The Surgeon General requested that each component of the Army grant certain qualified commissioned PAs constructive credit for the AMEDD Officer Basic Course. The Army did not anticipate any other significant changes in the training and utilization of physician assistants.

Warrant Officer Management Act

The Warrant Officer Management Act (WOMA) of 1991 initiated sweeping changes in warrant officer personnel management. The WOMA authorized a CW5 grade with specific pay and allowances, adopted a single Active Duty List System, and eliminated the dual temporary and permanent promotion system. All future promotions were to be permanent, using standardized procedures and tenure for Regular Army (RA) personnel and active duty reservists. As in the commissioned officer system, all warrant officers the Army had passed over twice for promotion would retire or be separated with separation pay. WOMA also established a time-in-grade requirement of three years of active duty before the Army would consider a warrant officer for promotion to CW3, CW4, or CW5 and a minimum of eighteen months in grade for CW2 consideration.

The WOMA also affected retirement for warrant officers. It managed warrant officers by years of warrant officer service rather than by years of active federal service, with tenure allowed up to twenty-four years' warrant officer service if promoted to CW4 and thirty years' if promoted to CW5. Retirement eligibility at twenty years of active federal service remained unaffected. The act included selective continuation boards to allow for the continued utilization in any critically short MOS of RA warrant officers the Army had passed over twice. It also established Selective Retirement Boards (SRB) to allow for the involuntary early retirement of eligible RA warrant officers who were not on a promotion list. Other warrant officers could be selected for release from active duty if they had less than eighteen years or more than twenty years of active federal service. Retirement-eligible, non-Regular Army warrant officers selected for early release could retire. The new legislation extended the involuntary separation deadline period from sixty days to the first day of the seventh month for warrant officers twice passed over for promotion and those that an SRB had selected for involuntary retirement.

A second major initiative, the Warrant Officer Leader Development Act Plan (WOLDAP), which the Chief of Staff approved in February 1992, focused on training, personnel management, and the total leader development process for both active and reserve warrant officers. The


WOLDAP contained a number of important features, such as centralized career management, clearer definitions of warrant officer duties and responsibilities, standardized selection criteria, stepped-up recruiting for reserve component warrant officers, and the establishment of eight years as the accession point for all nonaviation warrant officers. It created a warrant officer military qualification standard system and established position coding for senior warrant officer grades. It also updated the warrant officer training system, instituting warrant officer candidate schools at state academies, providing conditional appointment to WO1 upon completion of one of the schools, and setting civilian education goals of an associate degree by the fifth year of warrant officer service and a bachelor's degree by the thirteenth. In addition, it created a warrant officer career center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, to serve as the executive agent for all warrant officer training matters.

Army Acquisition Corps

No Army function has been subjected to as much congressional oversight as the weapons acquisition program. Responding to the need for expertise in this critical area, the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff in October 1989 established the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC), a combined specialized corps of military and civilian acquisition professionals. The AAC drew its manpower from an annual addition of officers in their eighth year of commissioned service who applied for the AAC and passed a review by the PERSCOM Acquisition Accession Board (PAAB). In October 1991, the Chief of Staff approved a policy change that allowed AAC officers to compete for acquisition-related Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA) command positions. This move opened new opportunities to functional area (FA) 51 (Research, Development, and Acquisition) officers and especially to FA 97 (Contracting and Industrial Management) officers.

In December 1991 and during the AAC Personnel Functional Assessment in April 1992, the DCSPER approved a cap of 2,500 military officers for the AAC. The cap took into account the number of acquisition-related positions, including an additional 16 percent to cover impending force reductions. It set target strengths of 1,465 for FA 51, 443 for FA 53 (Systems Automation), and 585 for FA 97. In order to limit the AAC to an affordable size, the DCSPER approved enhanced promotion rates and total support for all approved 4M (captain/major) and 4Z (lieutenant colonel and above) skill level positions in planning for future officer strength levels.

The Army used the concept of the notional force (NOF) to determine the number of officers from each branch who would participate in the AAC. In coordination with the branch proponents, PERSCOM adjusted


the AAC distribution, in line with the NOF, to compensate for branch shortages. Because of the Chief of Staff's decision regarding TDA commands, the DCSPER directed filling of all FA 97 and FA 51 officer authorizations into the AAC. For FA 97, this realignment increased the number of officers in the AAC from 280 to 585 and decreased the total number in the Army from 1,800 to 585. PERSCOM accomplished this through three separate board actions that ended in June 1992. The transition of FA 51 officers began in August 1992. Three separate boards would reduce the total number of Army officers holding FA 51 from close to 5,200 to 1,465.

The DCSPER also required annual validation of positions prior to convening the PAAB. The MACOMs provided justification for each of their positions, and in July 1992 a Council of Colonels met and voted on each position. In September 1992, PERSCOM established the first Military Acquisition Position List, which defined the AAC force structure, and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition approved it. The Army sought to reposition the AAC so that all AAC officers were in acquisition position list-approved positions and so that no acquisition position list-approved positions were filled by non-AAC officers.

Fiscal year 1992 was a year of growth for the AAC. During the year, the Army added 845 new positions and 707 new civilians to the corps. By the end of the fiscal year, the AAC contained more than 1,775 members and 1,685 critical acquisition positions.

Civilian Personnel

The Army leadership designed its civilian manpower strategy according to workload requirements and affordability. Using the "Manage Civilian Workforce to Budget" philosophy, Army planners analyzed civilian affordability during the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) development process to ensure that the size of the civilian workforce was consistent with workload requirements and funding constraints. According to the 1994-99 POM, the civilian manpower level would drop from 309,400 in FY 1993 to 284,000 in FY 1997, a decrease of 24 percent from FY 1989 levels. The Army expected to meet projected civilian personnel reductions through transfers, hiring freezes, release of temporary employees, early retirements, and RIFs. It expected to make only marginal changes in these figures as it moved from the planning to the execution stages.

The Secretary of the Army reported to the Deputy Secretary of Defense that the Army would meet its FY 1992 civilian end strength goals and have only a slight increase in Europe to support the drawdown. Civilian personnel strength dropped from 365,500 to 333,600 during FY


1992, the largest reduction since the end of the Vietnam War. Few of these reductions came from RIFs. During the fiscal year, the Staffing Branch of PERSCOM's Civilian Personnel Management Directorate, which was responsible for processing RIFs, received fifty-four notifications of impending RIFs and thirty-four requests to conduct a RIF While initial projections showed that 3,268 civilian employees could have been separated under RIF procedures by the end of FY 1992, the Army actually discharged only 631. The availability and use of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (VERA), successful placement through the DOD Priority Placement Program, and vigorous placement programs established at the installation level made it possible to keep RIFs to a minimum.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) authorized VERA when retirements and realignments reached certain threshold levels. VERA allowed employees to elect retirement with a reduced annuity even if they would not ordinarily be eligible for retirement. They still had to meet certain requirements for age and years of service. Of the projected 1,203 civilians expected to elect VERA during the fiscal year, only 303 actually did.

As part of planning for the largest civilian drawdown the Army had faced in decades, DCSPER's Directorate of Civilian Personnel and PERSCOM's Civilian Personnel Management Directorate planned and conducted the Civilian Personnel Drawdown Training Workshop at Hunt Valley, Maryland, in July 1992. Eleven work groups addressed ten major issues in an effort to develop strategies and recommendations. The workshop produced a long-range civilian manpower reduction plan, including encouragement of civilian retirements through a liberalized VERA, retirement incentives, and selected early retirement as a last resort to avoid separation of employees ineligible to retire. A strong majority of attendees voted that the Army should consolidate support services on a regional basis, while retaining on-site staff at all levels to support the local commander in discharging his responsibilities. In addition, the group recommended that the Army move rapidly toward reimbursable servicing arrangements. Workshop conferees expressed great concern that the Army emphasize automation of human resource management, replacing current civilian personnel office hardware and making systems more user-friendly. Participants also proposed combining all "people" functions into a Human Resource Office in lieu of the current traditional Civilian Personnel Office.

The hiring prohibition imposed by the Secretary of Defense in January 1990 to reduce budgeted civilian employment levels continued throughout FY 1992. The Department of Defense had modified the hiring freeze in March 1991, allowing two civilian hires from outside DOD for each five losses. To meet the FY 1992 budgeted civilian employment lev-


els, however, the Secretary of the Army replaced the DOD-wide "two-for-five" policy with more stringent controls in February 1992. The new policy allowed only one hire from outside the Department of the Army for each four losses but permitted a few limited exceptions.

From December 1989 to December 1991, the total Army civilian strength decreased by approximately 50,000, but the total number of high-grade positions—GS/GM-13, 14, 15—increased by more than 2,000 in the same time period. In response, the Secretary of the Army placed a cap on high-grade positions at the number that existed at the end of FY 1991 and stated that the cap would last until PERSCOM assessed the cause and justified the increase. PERSCOM investigators studied the high-grade increase; made fact-finding visits to FORSCOM, CECOM (AMC), Corps of Engineers Districts, and the Office of The Surgeon General; and reviewed the reliability of the Army Civilian Personnel System data on high grades, but reached no conclusion by the end of the fiscal year. Between February and October 1992, the number of high-grade positions decreased from 32,826 to 32,156.

After a successful two-year pilot program, the Army during FY 1992 moved toward instituting civilian proponency across the Army. Integration of civilians into the proponency system would, the Army hoped, foster better leadership and greater understanding between military and civilian members of the Army. During the fiscal year, PERSCOM's Civilian Personnel Management Directorate worked closely with the PERSCOM Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel Integration on the final revision of AR 600-3, The Army Personnel Proponent System, which formally integrated civilians into the proponent system. PERSCOM scheduled publication of the regulation for FY 1993. At the same time, the Civilian Personnel Management Directorate issued guidance to proponents on fully integrating civilians as required by the Civilian Leader Development Action Plan (CLDAP). The directorate directed that the proponents concentrate on two areas identified by the DCSPER: the development of progressive and sequential technical and leadership training plans and the integration of potentially deployable civilians into doctrine where applicable. PERSCOM action officers worked closely with representatives of all of the civilian career programs to develop a system for implementing the DCSPER's recommendations.

While the degree of progress toward proponency varied among the twenty-one civilian career programs, one stood out: the prototype "Pilot Project" of the Comptroller Civilian Career Program. The Pilot Project included training and managed operational assignments, which, along with self-development, formed the three pillars of the Civilian Leader Development Action Plan. The project provided for selection by competition, fourteen months of long-term training in the Army Comptrollership


Program at Syracuse University, and post-training operational assignments. A unique aspect of this project was that PERSCOM placed the participants, competitively chosen and referred by the Army Civilian Career Evaluation System and selected by the Army Comptrollership Program, in their future assignments prior to their arrival at the university for training. This innovation and others ensured the proper sequencing of formal training and operational assignments. These innovations also furthered the integration of civilian and military personnel systems by managing civilians in a manner similar to military personnel. They improved the return on the Army's investment by placing students in positions that would fully utilize their new skills and knowledge.

The Army recognized the need not only for leader development of civilians but also the need for a core training program parallel to that already in place for military personnel. At the close of FY 1992, leader development courses for civilians existed at four levels: intern, supervisor, manager, and executive. In addition, PERSCOM managed courses for civilians at the Center for Army Leadership, the Army Management Staff College (AMSC), and the Army Center for Civilian Human Resource Management. In April 1992, PERSCOM mandated completion of both the Basic Supervisory Development course and the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) course by all new supervisors of civilian employees, both military and civilian. In addition, PERSCOM implemented a new procedure for the competitive selection of individuals to attend the AMSC. The CLDAP called for a Total Army Culture initiative to bring civilian and military personnel systems closer together. Total Army Culture integrated civilian selection boards with military board procedures under the Department of the Army Secretariat for Selection Boards. Along with the three AMSC boards conducted this year, PERSCOM used this centralized board process for the first time to select civilians to attend the Senior Service College.

The Army was also looking for ways to reform its development process for senior-level civilian appointments. On 2 March 1992, the Acting Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel signed a memorandum to the functional chiefs of all Army civilian career programs endorsing the principle of centralized selection and managed assignments for positions with the senior-level career program. He stressed that the Army needed to manage operational assignments across the career programs if it was to assure that civilians received the proper blend of training and experience necessary to prepare them for Army leadership positions.

Another significant change for civilian personnel during the fiscal year was the establishment of a new career program for the information mission area (IMA) in January 1992. The new program combined the Librarian, Automatic Data Processing, Communications, and Records


Management career programs; a major portion of the Public Affairs and Communications Media program; and printing and publications employees, who were not previously covered by a career program. Each of these job specialties became a separate track under the broad umbrella of IMA. The consolidated IMA enabled managers to train interns under a single training program with a broad background in information management and also assured that current employees gained that same breadth of knowledge and experience. At about the same time as the IMA consolidation, the Army planned to convert one of the affected programs, Communications, to the Army Civilian Career Evaluation System. Since the most cost-effective action was to have all of the programs operate from a single source, the Communications program transferred from the U.S. Army Information Systems Command to PERSCOM as the Telecommunications track of the IMA. At the close of the fiscal year, a job analysis was under way to include Directors of Information Management (DOIM), Deputy Chiefs of Staff for Information Management (DCSIM), and Information Managers in the consolidated referral system.

Civilians represented a key part of the Army Acquisition Corps, holding critical acquisition positions at GS/GM-14 and above. In April 1992, as a result of the first functional assessment of personnel in the AAC, the DCSPER backed the concept of a requirements-driven civilian component of the right size. In June, the Acquisition Career Program Board decided to look again at the issue of size after the filling of positions and the closing and analysis of the second AAC recruiting announcement. In support of the expansion of the civilian component of the AAC, the AAC Management Office drafted civilian career management policy and procedures, which the Army was still reviewing at the end of the fiscal year.

The Army Center for Civilian Human Resource Management had an extremely successful year in FY 1992. It trained a total of 3,254 people in 59 training sessions, 1,133 in Civilian Personnel Administration, 546 in the Army Civilian Personnel System, and 1,575 as part of the Personnel Management for Executives program. The center also conducted several special courses during the fiscal year, including a Train the Trainers course on the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act in November 1991, the first training program for personnel assistants in August 1992, a course for the Civilian Personnel Administration for Personnel Proponents in May 1992, and several ACPERS courses in Germany in May 1992.

Of the many serious issues that the Army faced in FY 1992, none was as daunting or time-consuming as the drawdown in personnel endstrength. The Army's leadership managed to reduce the size of the force structure, its accompanying personnel, and many military and civilian spaces in TDA activities. While meeting end-strength goals through a number of


"early out" programs, such as the VET and VSI/SSB, the Army ran into problems in maintaining balance in MOSs and grades. This experience, along with increased missions, reduced training time, and the turbulence of shrinking force structure ultimately affected readiness. However, by the close of the fiscal year, many of the personnel problems had been addressed by the Army and solutions approved. By careful handling of those problems, as well as reforms in personnel policies in such areas as the commissioning of physician assistants, warrant officer career management, and civilian proponency, the Army looked forward to continuing the high level of performance that the Total Army demonstrated in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM.



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