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The US Army
The US army is the largest military branch in the United States Armed Forces. The US Army, whose operations are based on land, is the oldest US military. Its roots can be traced back to Continental Army of 1775 before the US was established. The US Army was officially established on June 3, 1784. The Army has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception. The forces were started with the primary mission of fighting to protect the US territory after the Continental Army was disbanded. However, it has since increased its operation beyond the US borders to the extent that it now dominates the international scene. Apart from increasing its operations, the armed forces have also expanded in size. The number of soldiers in the US Regular Army now stands at over half a million.
Changes Taking Shape in the USA Army
The US Army has undergone many changes since its inception as far as its operations are concerned. It has been forced to make changes from time to time to improve its efficiency and to adapt to the growing demands brought about by different global factors. Currently, the Army is undergoing many changes. The new Army Regulation 670-1 that took effect recently has introduced new rules on appearance and grooming in the Army. The rules cover a number of areas including but not limited to uniform wear, hairstyles, tattoos and the general grooming of soldiers. The intention behind the introduction of the rules is to improve the image of the Army as a profession. According to Sergeant Major of the Army Ray Chandler, the American citizenry measure the professionalism of the Army by the appearance of the soldiers. Following the introduction of the new AR 670-1, every soldier is required to follow the new standards as stipulated by the new set of rules. Leaders in the armed forces have to lead by example. The leaders are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the standards are adhered to.
The new AR 670-1 rules start with the basics in dressing among the Army soldiers. The new rules give an outline on when the soldiers should be in their uniform. Explanations on how the uniforms should be worn are also given. As for the soldiers who have skill badges that have been sewn on their uniforms, they will now have their name tapes sewn on the uniforms, as well. Soldiers are now not allowed to have unnecessary dental ornaments. The soldiers will only be allowed to have dental ornaments upon authorization. The limits extend to the jewelry as soldiers have to adhere to the set jewelry standards. The rules are even tougher on tattoos. The rules have set limits on the soldiers wishing to get new tattoos have to meet the outlined criteria in AR 607-1. To ensure that the new Army rules on appearance are adhered to, commanders have to inspect and track soldiers. The commanders have to keep records of all the soldiers’ appearance.
The US has been watching Russia’s military actions closely for a long time, dating back to the World War period. Even though the US has been the world’s superpower for a long time, she always perceived Russia as a military threat. Russia has been involved in many military operations all over the world. This has always provoked the US to join such military operations to counter the effects that would arise in the event that Russia’s military forces dominate. Currently, Ukraine is the center of attention for the US and Russia. Following the Russian Parliament’s approval of the deployment of Russian military in Ukraine, tension between the US and Russia has been heightened. The US has opposed Russia’s move with President Obama warning Russia of dire consequences in the event that Russia’s military presence in Ukraine continues. In the meantime, the US military is preparing to counter Russia’s military operation. In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Georgia and the US Vice President, Obama said that the US will keep close ties with NATO. This shows that the US is ready to strengthen its military so as to reduce or eliminate any threat of the Russian military. However, until that happens, the US has opted to use diplomacy to contain the situation.
Apart from the AR 607-1 and the recent events happening in Russia, other changes are taking place in the US Army today. The Army retirement system is being revised to make it more favorable. In the event that all the proposals are adopted, it may become the best retirement plan in the US. The retirement package is to include a pension alongside other benefits. The special thing about the military retirement deal is that retired soldiers start receiving a pension and the other benefits regardless of their age of retirement. The soldiers can start receiving a pension as early as at the age of 37 as long as they retire. However, pension allocations will vary depending on how long a soldier has served in the armed forces. The categories will be divided into three to cover soldiers who have served for a period of not less than six years, those who have served for about 12 years and those who have served for over 20 years. Those who have served longer in the force are entitled to a higher pension. In addition, retired soldiers will be entitled to pension adjustments depending on the cost of living. Therefore, retired soldiers’ pension will grow as the costs of living rise each year.
Downsizing of the US Army is among the issues that President Obama’s government has been preoccupied with. The US government is putting in place strategies to shrink the nation’s Army. Downsizing of the US Army has been necessitated by the need to cut down the high budget for the US defense. The government targets to reduce the number of Army personnel to at least 440,000. With the increase in terrorism activities especially around 2001, military expenditures in the US doubled. US military operations in different parts of the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq, have helped reduce terrorist attacks. Consequently, the US military spending has declined but not to a sustainable level. The plan on downsizing of the Army has also received support from the American citizenry. They are tired of the negative impacts that have come with the operations the US Army in conflict stricken areas.
Tuition Assistance (TA) is yet another recent development that has been witnessed in the US Army. Details of TA are contained in the Army Regulation 621-5. TA is a benefit that soldiers serving in the Army can receive, which involves payment for tuition expenses for the soldiers. Under the TA policies, soldiers are eligible for tuition assistance as long as they have completed a period of at least one year service in the Army. This recent development in the Army is aimed at providing financial support to soldiers who wish to continue with their studies. Through TA, soldiers are allowed to pursue courses that enable them to develop professional competence and achieve other personal goals. The soldiers are allowed to continue with postsecondary education in different institutions while off duty. The Army pays part of or all tuition expenses charged by the different educational institutions. The soldiers are also allowed time to pursue their courses. For instance, soldiers pursuing undergraduate courses are allowed a maximum of 130 hours in a semester. Those pursuing master’s degrees are allowed a time limit not exceeding 39 hours per semester.
How Recent Events in the Army Will Shape My Career as a New Lieutenant in the US Army
The recent events in the US Army have several impacts on my career as a new lieutenant in United States Army. The changes that have been brought about by the Army Regulation 607-1 will help me to stay disciplined as far as personal appearance and grooming are concerned. The rules will help me to maintain the image of a professional soldier. As the AR 607-1 stipulates, I will always be in the required uniform, maintain a simple hairstyle, limit the wearing or ornaments and avoid tattoos on my body among other things that will make me look decent. Maintaining a good personal look will earn me respect from other American citizens. Therefore, I will serve in the armed forces to the best of my ability to prove that I deserve the respect accorded to me by the public.
The introduced tuition assistance program will enable me to pursue a course in one of the areas that I am interested in pursuing. Through the tuition assistance, I will get the opportunity to further my studies. Therefore, I will acquire skills that will improve my professional skills and personality, as well. Postsecondary education will also increase my chances of being promoted from the low level of a lieutenant to higher ranks in the Army. Opportunities for further studies and promotion will motivate me as I serve in the armed forces.
The changes in the military retirement system will make me serve in the Army without divided attention. With the implementation of the proposed military retirement system, I will be assured of a good sendoff package upon my retirement. I will not have to engage in other income generating activities in preparation for retirement. I will also serve in the armed forces for as long as I can so that I secure the best sendoff package.
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