In Shrinking Army, Former 101st Commander Says There Won’t Be Room For Everyone

Gen. John Campbell has had a quick rise, leaving the 101st Airborne in 2011 as a Major General (two star). He became a four star in March when he became the Army's vice chief of staff, making him effectively the third-ranking officer in the Army. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Gen. John Campbell has had a quick rise, leaving the 101st Airborne in 2011 as a Major General (two star). He became a four star in March when he became the Army’s vice chief of staff, making him effectively the third-ranking officer in the Army. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

The former commander of Fort Campbell is back on post this week preparing to help the Army slim down. He says some who thought they’d make a career of the military will have to leave.

The Army is already marching its numbers down to fewer than 500,000 in uniform. And further budget cuts being considered could chop another 100,000 from the ranks.

Gen. John Campbell says being in the military is a privilege, not a right.

“We’re doing most of this by natural attrition. So that’s pretty good, but we’re going to come to a point where we’re going to have to make some very tough decisions and we’re going to have to have some soldiers leave involuntarily.”

The Army will start by cutting some colonels this month, Campbell says.

In recent years, pretty much any soldier who met the qualifications was able to reenlist. However, in the last few months, Campbell says commanders have been given leeway to reject a soldier, even if he or she has met the mental and physical requirements.

John Campbell was the commander of the 101st Airborne Division until 2011. He became a four star general in March when he was named Army Vice chief of staff. He says his son is now stationed at the post on the Tennessee/Kentucky line.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.