April 1, 2009  

Pay for Pros

Maj. Myles Caggins highlights the problem of retention, but only offers the same solutions [“A major problem,” December ]. He highlights the issues of his own demographic but fails to see the similarities it shares with adjacent ranks. The captains in the Army are getting the incentives because they are the most critically short. He is correct that there is a burgeoning shortage of majors. That is chiefly because those captains are becoming majors. He also mentions that the Navy must value its O-4s because it pays them more in incentives. This is an incorrect conclusion. The Navy pays them more because it can’t retain them otherwise. I wish Caggins had looked at a systemic solution to the retention issue instead of the piecemeal targeting of individual shortage groups.

The answer to many of the issues confronting today’s Army is the lack of a professional pay scale. The Army should consider restructuring the current scale to make E-1 to E-3, O-1 to O-2 and WO1 entry-level wage positions followed by significant increases to E-4 to E-5, O-3 and W02 and a professional pay scale from there on. Picture an Army with a professional pay scale where there are more people trying to join than there are slots, where junior enlisted and officers are striving to make the cut to E-5, O-3 and W02 amid stiff competition from their peers, and more senior officers face promotion rates of 30 percent instead of 97 percent.

Make it simple. Pay professional to get professional and cut out these piecemeal nonsolutions.

Lt. Col. Mike Brophy, Army Deputy Senior Aviation Trainer

Joint Multinational Readiness Center

Hohenfels, Germany