As the U.S. winds down operations in Afghanistan and the Pentagon looks to shrink its size by 2017, a growing number of troops are separating from service. The trend is especially evident at Fort Benning, where officials say an estimated 200 men and women are transitioning each month, which is up considerably from the year before, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.
The Army is prepared for the expected influx of separating soldiers. For instance, they hired more counselors at transition service offices to help answer any questions about the process. They have also been interested in finding out what soldiers do once they separate from the Armed Forces. A recent poll of troops found that 80 percent want to return to school, while 20 percent are planning on working or opening their own business.
"We capture the soldiers when they first get in the Army, and when one decides to leave," Eddie Perez, the transition services manager at Fort Benning, told the newspaper, "We put them on an education track or employment, whatever it is they want."
The Army's size is expected to go down considerably by 2017. Officials hope to drop the number of soldiers to about 490,000, which would be a dip of around 72,000 soldiers.