The Intersect
Jan. 18, 2011

Why our best officers are leaving
The Atlantic
Why are so many of the most talented officers now abandoning military life for the private sector? An exclusive survey of West Point graduates shows that it's not just money. Increasingly, the military is creating a command structure that rewards conformism and ignores merit. As a result, it's losing its vaunted ability to cultivate entrepreneurs in uniform.More

Panel to recommend allowing women in combat
NPR
A high-level military commission is set to recommend that the Pentagon reverse its long-standing policy that bars women from being in combat. Hundreds of thousands of women are currently serving in the U.S. military, and many of them are in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the Pentagon's policy, women are, and always have been, barred from taking part in any ground combat operations. But in reality, women are already in the thick of the fight — and an upcoming report will recommend that the Pentagon acknowledge the reality on the ground and allow women to be assigned to combat units.More

No. 2 bank overcharged troops on mortgages
NBC News
One of the nation's biggest banks — JP Morgan Chase — admits it has overcharged several thousand military families for their mortgages, including families of troops fighting in Afghanistan. The bank also tells NBC News that it improperly foreclosed on more than a dozen military families. The admissions are an outgrowth of a lawsuit filed by Marine Capt. Jonathan Rowles. Rowles is the backseat pilot of an F/A 18 Delta fighter jet and has served the nation as a Marine for five years. He and his wife, Julia, say they've been battling Chase almost that long. More

DoD orders draw-downs for 2015, 2016
The Coastal Courier
Budget pressures that have proven greater than anticipated mean the Defense Department will trim end strength in its ground forces beginning in four years, Defense Sec. Robert M. Gates said. "Under this plan, the U.S. Army's permanent active-duty end strength would decline by 27,000 troops, while the Marine Corps would decline by somewhere between (15,000) and 20,000, depending on the outcome of their force structure review," Gates said. The secretary and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke to reporters at the Pentagon on the results of defense efficiencies initiatives begun in May 2010 to trim support costs and ensure funding for military modernization.More

Defense budget changes raise questions and concerns
Reuters
Lawmakers and industry executives began raising concerns this week about new Pentagon cost-cutting measures, saying the moves could have unintended consequences and might prove difficult to implement. Defense Sec. Robert Gates delivered "a brilliant preemptive strike that kind of frames the whole defense budget debate for Congress and for industry for fiscal 2012," said Byron Callan, sell-side analyst with Capital Alpha Partners. "But there's not a lot of detail on the cost savings and efficiencies, and Gates most likely won't be around when those efficiencies have to be delivered," Callan said.More

New Armed Services Chair plans reorganization
Defense News
An upcoming reorganization of the subcommittees of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee will shift oversight of certain weapons programs, including Navy and Marine Corps tactical jets, according to committee staff. The shifts will be made as part of a new rules package to be proposed by the new committee chair, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., at a meeting that could be as early as next week, the committee's Republican spokesman Josh Holly said. The Democrats are expected to announce their committee assignments at the same meeting.More

All branches meet military recruiting goals
Stars and Stripes
Each of the U.S. military's service branches met its active-duty recruitment and retention goals for the first quarter of fiscal 2011, the Department of Defense said. "We are very proud that our all-volunteer force can still be successful in a wartime environment," Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army's Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky., said.More

Air Force 'moving toward completion' on tanker
Reuters
The Air Force is "moving toward completion" on deciding whether Boeing Co. or Europe's EADS will build 179 new refueling planes, Air Force Sec. Michael Donley said. Donley told military and industry officials that a hearing planned by the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Air Force's handling of the tanker competition would not affect the timetable for an Air Force contract award. He declined to give a firm date for a contract award, saying only that the new refueling tankers remain a "very, very high priority" for the Air Force and that "source selection is moving toward completion."More

Air Guard, Reserve officials announce 2011 teen leadership summits
The U.S. Air Force
Officials from the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard announced the 2011 Air Force Reserve and ANG Teen Leadership Summit locations. The Air Force Reserve and ANG Teen Leadership Summit locations this summer are in Dahlonega, Ga.; Estes, Colo; and Washington. The summits combine high-adventure activities with leadership classes to allow teens to tap into their leadership potential and discover hidden strengths while developing a sense of belonging to the Air Force community, officials said. Teens with a parent in the Air Force Reserve or ANG can attend one of the free summits. April 8 is the application deadline. Participants must be 14 to 18 years old.More

National Guard (in federal status) and Reserve activated as of Jan. 11
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Navy and Marine Corps announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Army, Air Force and Coast Guard announced an increase. The net collective result is 491 more reservists activated than last week. At any given time, services may activate some units and individuals while deactivating others, making it possible for these figures to either increase or decrease.More