JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The Army has a mission to bring the total Army force to 1 million Soldiers -- half active-duty and half reserve component Soldiers.
To accomplish this mission, the Army has career counselors with a mission to retain and reenlist 48,000 Soldiers in fiscal 2019. The purpose of the retention program and the duty of career counselors is to re-enlist a sufficient number of qualified Soldiers on a long-term basis.
The Army has a regulation on retention that outlines the criteria for a Soldier to re-enlist in the Army authorizing them various options as they continue their service to their country. It is the job of Army career counselors to know what is available for Soldiers as they come into their re-enlistment window.
"Career counselors provide more to the unit than writing contracts or conducting reenlistment ceremonies," said Master Sgt. Joshua Schillereff, the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command career counselor. "We help the Army's efforts by placing the right Soldiers in the right location or military occupation specialty at the right time."
In order to continue to work on the Army retention mission, 593rd ESC conducts training on a monthly basis. The purpose of the most recent training was to increase the career counselors' knowledge of databases and how they can increase the efficiency of the retention program.
"Within 593rd, we re-enlist approximately 500 Soldiers of the Army's required 48,000," said Schillereff, a native of Port Orchard, Wash. "593rd retention personnel have exceeded their assigned retention mission the past two fiscal years and continue to lead I Corps this year. We continue to do this by training our career counselors to accomplish our top priority of taking care of Soldiers as efficiently as possible."
The retention mission is essential in maintaining Army end strength. Without retention, commanders may not have an adequate amount of Soldiers to complete any of their other assigned missions.
"In today's day and age when we are in a growth Army and have to boost end strength, we want to keep the right people in the right places," said Sgt. Maj. John N. Cavaliere, U.S. Army Forces Command career counselor. "FORSCOM retention's number one priority is to make mission. We manage the Army end strength and ensure the Army is ready to fight our wars and win."
Retention is a continuous effort that does not start when the Soldier enters their reenlistment window but when they enter the service.
"A Soldier's leadership and how they view the organization will help determine if they are going to stay in service," said Master Sgt. William P. Cunningham, the 593rd ESC retention operations noncommissioned officer. "Career counselors can be utilized throughout the process and talk about career enhancing programs, assignments and reclassification opportunities."