Faced with the biggest recruitment shortfall since the draft was abolished in 1973, the Army has come up with what it thinks is a good idea. The nation's largest military force will allow new enlistees the option of serving just 15 months on active duty.
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But before anyone bellies up to a recruitment center to take advantage of this offer, they should read the fine print in the enlistment contract and an appeals court ruling that was issued a day after the Army's announcement.
While one year and three months might not sound like a long time to serve this country in a time of war, those who take advantage of the Army's offer should know that their actual commitment to Uncle Sam will be at least eight years - not 15 months. Everyone who enters the all-volunteer military incurs a total service obligation of eight years, a portion of which is spent on active duty. For the remainder of this time, the enlistee can be called back into uniform at the government's discretion under a program called "stop-loss." [my emphasis]
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Remember, kiddies, before you sign up, bring your lawyer along to read the fine print. How much you wanna bet Rummy and the Pentagram had the credit card companies draw up the enlistment contract?