Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has delegated his "stop-loss" authority to the heads of the military departments. The stop-loss program allows the Services to retain individuals on active duty beyond their date of separation. Those affected by the order generally cannot retire or leave the service as long as reserves are called to active duty or until relieved by the President, whichever is earlier.
Stop-loss was last used during Operation Allied Force over Kosovo. In 1990, then President George Bush delegated stop-loss authority to the Secretary of Defense during Operation Desert Shield. That delegation remains valid today.
The Services are adopting various forms of stop-loss. They generally will target the program at servicemembers with critical military occupations.
The Air Force has already applied stop-loss to all active, Guard, and reserve forces, stopping all separations and retirements for at least 30 days. This will not apply to those with an approved separation on or before Oct. 1, 2001. The Air Force will continue to review and revise the policy as circumstances dictate.
The Army has no immediate plans to implement stop-loss, while the Navy plans a limited stop-loss affecting approximately 10,500 people in 11 critical specialties. The Marine Corps expects to complete its stop-loss plan later this week.
Most involuntary discharges would not be affected by stop-loss, nor will stop-loss change any policies or regulations currently in effect that might lead to an administrative discharge.