As military families continue to face forced extensions in service in Iraq, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today blasted the Department of Defense for not acting to minimize the use of Stop Loss.
Stop Loss orders block members of the Armed Services from retiring or completing their contracts as scheduled. Brown demanded Secretary Robert Gates fulfill his promise to military families and announce a new policy to minimize stop loss.
"Many military families are already financially strapped and emotionally drained because of this war," Brown said. "Yet, we continue to rely on them to adjust to unplanned extensions of service. Stop Loss orders are a breach of trust."
In January, Gates set February 28, 2007 as the deadline for the submission of plans to minimize Stop Loss for active and reserve component forces from military department secretaries, undersecretaries of defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to the Office of Legislation within the Department of Defense, those plans were submitted on a timely basis, but they have not been implemented. Brown called on Gates to establish a date certain for the announcements of a new Stop Loss policy that minimizes the use of these orders.
In a letter to Gates on Wednesday, Brown wrote, "This string of delays is a disservice to our men and women in uniform who have served bravely in Iraq, many on multiple tours. These Stop Loss orders have a corrosive effect on families and on military recruitment. You must honor your pledge to minimize their use."