Washington D.C. (November 15, 2013)– General Raymond Odierno, the Army’s Chief of Staff, announced today that the Army was considering a plan to do away with the entire Non-Commissioned Officers Corps in favor of contract provided personnel, or CPs. “Contract provided personnel represent a dramatic departure for the Army,” Odierno said, “But desperate times call for desperate measures. Right now, we can’t afford the force we have. Benefits, salaries, and training are expensive. We need all the money we can find for more important things, like opening more general officer slots, and finding a replacement for the uniform that is a replacement for the ACUs,” Odierno explained. Army sources say that the new CPs wear Army uniforms, but no rank insignia, and operate entirely outside of the Army’s traditional chain of command and the military justice system, the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“Modern CPs are based on the old ‘courtesy patrol’ system that used to be in place before 9/11,” explained Yale University historian and Pulitzer Prize winning author John Lewis Gaddis. “Back then, NCOs in many ‘conventional’ units couldn’t be relied on to handle things like discipline, morale, and esprit de corps and to make spot corrections in areas like the PX, the Class VI, and the local Wal-Mart. So the Army decided to assign people to monitor and correct Soldiers who weren’t doing the right thing, instead of holding NCOs and officers accountable for Soldier discipline. Of course, all it did was make the ‘not my job’ issue even worse. If NCOs know that it’s someone else’s job to police up Soldiers, why would they run the risk of a confrontation with a junior troop that they don’t even know?”
Former Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler was conspicuously silent on this issue, having led the way by being the first NCO in the entire Army to be replaced by a CP. After a testing and fielding period similar in effectiveness to the one used with the Army’s black beret, the first operational employment of CPs at the major command level occurred in the Army’s storied 25th Infantry Division, based in Hawaii.
The reactions to the CP program were mixed, with support for CPs waning the further down the chain of command one went. “We are pleased to be the first unit fielded with CPs,” said the 25th’s division commander, Major General Kurt Fuller. “Losing the entire NCO Corps, long known as the ‘backbone of the Army, was a severe blow, but we’re used to getting screwed over by the decisionmakers in Washington, so we’ll bend over and take it in the fourth point of contact like we always do.”
While general officers who want to keep their jobs expressed support of the CP program, company grade officers were universally repulsed by the idea. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” said company commander Mark Odom, a MacArthur leadership award winner and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. “You’re abolishing the NCO Corps—the FUCKING NCO CORPS—as a cost saving measure? And replacing them with contractors? Fuck this… you know what? I was first in my class at West Point, I’ve got a master’s degree, I’ve been promoted early twice, and I’ve deployed to combat four times. If the Army needs CPs to micromanage people like me in garrison, then the Army doesn’t need me at all. The Army wants to cut half of its captains and majors… well, they don’t have to cut me, I quit.”
Captain Odom was not alone in his sentiment. “Back when I first joined, after 9/11, we didn’t have CPs,” another officer added, “We had these things called ‘sergeants.’ Now we’re going back to a peacetime Army that has nothing better to do than to harass dependents outside the commissary and to make sure reflective belts are worn precisely parallel to the ground? Awesome. An Army of one?” he added rhetorically, referring to the Army’s recruiting motto. “Well, I’m about to help it be an Army of one less. Peace out bitches, good luck with that CP thing.”
This has been a Hit the Woodline SATIRE piece and should not be regarded as truthful. No reference of any individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or harm.