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U.S. Army now seeking RETIREES to return to active-duty service

  As the U.S. Army is facing a manpower crisis, the military branch  is now seeking retirees to return to active-duty service and fill much-...

 As the U.S. Army is facing a manpower crisis, the military branch is now seeking retirees to return to active-duty serviceand fill much-needed staffing gaps.

The service-wide All Army Activities (ALARACT) directive outlined how Army retirees can find and apply for open positions, according to a March 22 report by the Daily Caller. It added that the ALARACT document "aims to maintain a sufficient number of personnel to fill all of the Army's authorized positions."

"The message comes as the service has publicly acknowledged struggles to balance a shrinking workforce with the demands of sprawling global mission sets as recruitment woes persist for a third year in a row. It was unclear whether the Army had already identified manning shortages to be filled, or was issuing the message in anticipation of future need."

According to the Daily Caller, the message states that any Army, Reserve or National Guard soldier who qualifies as retired or will soon be retired (i.e. they achieved at least 20 years of service) and anyone receiving retired pay is eligible to apply. Neither age nor disability alone would exclude a soldier from joining, depending on the disability, and they would still have to meet the Army’s health requirements.

Those who apply for the program essentially let the Army send them orders to return to active duty if a critical role opens that no one else can fill. However, the message does not authorize any special pay or incentives.

The publication of the ALARACT document initially sparked confusion and irony among military professionals online regarding its voluntary nature and whether it indicated deeper manning issues. But retired Lt. Col. Thomas Spoehr, a defense policy and strategy expert, put in his two cents on the matter.  

"The Army does have significant manpower shortages, but they are concentrated at the lower enlistment grades due to the recruiting crisis," explained Spoehr, a senior advisor at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. "So I am not sure this particular message does indicate a problem since retirees are old."

New document sparks rumors of possible U.S. involvement in Ukraine

According to an analysis of the Army's existing force structure published in late February 2023, its current active duty end strength – the total number of troops – is 494,000. But Congress capped end strength at 445,000 in the fiscal year 2024 defense policy bill, a historically low number as the service branch struggled to recruit enough soldiers to meet end-strength goals.  

Meanwhile, Army officials justified the dissolution of 24,000 roles that have been left empty as the Army deals with its worst-ever recruiting crisis. They defended the move as necessary to help ensure the service only plans to assign and deploy the people it has available, cutting down on strain and allowing for more realistic planning.

Election integrity activist and founder Patrick Byrne reacted to the news of the ALARACT document in a post on X, mentioning that the recall of retirees appears to be linked to an impending deployment to Ukraine.

"The entire thing we are going through is contrived. There is no reason for it at all," he wrote. "The war in [Ukraine] was deliberate."

Meanwhile, user @WallStreetApes – a military veteran himself – called the directive "crazy." He continued: "I had to look it up myself … [and] they're actually serious."

"Why are they calling the retirees back? What is about to happen? What's going on? I don't know what we got planned, but the fact that they're calling retirees back is kind of mind-boggling. I'm thinking about all kinds of things that could happen."

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