The San Diego Union-Tribune

September 29, 2001

Navy to keep personnel in key jobs from leaving duty


WASHINGTON -- The Navy announced yesterday that hundreds of officers and enlisted personnel nearing the end of their service commitment will remain on active duty indefinitely.

The order takes affect Oct. 10 and applies to people in 11 military specialties
-- primarily special operations, security, translation and medical. It also will
apply to some Naval Reserve members.

"We need to ensure our fleet units are fully manned and ready" for
assignments by national authorities, said Vice Adm. Norb Ryan Jr., the chief
of naval personnel. Using the recently approved "stop loss" authority, the
Navy seeks to meet its top goal of mission readiness "by ensuring we have the right mix of people to successfully respond to any tasking."

Being held on active duty are explosive ordnance disposal lieutenants,
lieutenant commanders and enlisted technicians; limited-duty officers and chief warrant officers in security jobs; cryptology officers; masters-at-arms, who serve as law enforcement and security personnel; enlisted SEALs and some Special Warfare Combatant Craft crewmen. The order also affects physicians and nurses with skills, such as emergency medicine, general surgery, orthopedics, internal medicine and psychiatry, and linguists proficient in Middle Eastern and South Asian languages.

The freeze on active-duty releases does not cover personnel being discharged for hardship, disability or disciplinary reasons.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave the services stop-loss authority

The Air Force issued orders to hold nearly all active and reserve personnel in
uniform for 30 days while it decides which individuals or skills it needs to
retain for a longer period.

The Marine Corps and Army are examining their personnel needs to
determine if they will need to retain trained people on active duty.