Army Accessions Command, 2002-2011

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The Army created its Accessions Command in 2002. On Wednesday, with encouragement from the Pentagon, it killed it. The U.S. Army Accessions Command was 9. The Army says it will shut down the command, based at Fort Monroe, Va., over the next 18 months. That will lead to the elimination of two general’s slots, 65 other military billets, 130 civilian jobs — and 290 contractor slots. (The Pentagon press release called them “290 contractor man-years” but no one answered the phone number on the press release to explain just what that means.) Kind of makes you wonder what other unnecessary commands, complete with battalions of civilians and brigades of contractors, are out there.

I could never figure out, given the existence of the Army Recruiting Command, why the Army needed an Accessions Command. Both seemed in charge of getting people into the Army. It reminds me of the story my old, and late, friend, Lars-Erik Nelson of the New York Daily News, used to tell. New at covering the Pentagon, he was working on a story about the alleged redundancies there. He dutifully called its public-affairs shop for comment. “You’ve got the wrong public-affairs shop,” the officer told him. “We deal with operations, and you want the one that deals with policy.”