Your Army

Top 6 fixes soldiers want now

We asked our readers what Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey should put at the top of his priority list when he becomes the next sergeant major of the Army in January.

Here's some of the top responses, so far. Send your SMA suggestions to Please include your name, rank and post.

1. Change the tattoo reg. The Army's tighter tattoo regulation, released March 31, has remained a major sticking point for soldiers. By far, most soldiers want Dailey's first order of business to be rescinding the tougher tattoo rules.

Most soldiers were grandfathered for their existing ink, but feel hindered in their ability to get more. Under the new rules, they can have no more than four visible tattoos below the elbow and knee, and those tattoos must be smaller than the size of the wearer's hand. Band tattoos must be no more than 2 inches wide, and sleeves on the legs and arms are outlawed.

"Enough with changing uniforms and stringent tattoo policies," David Holifield wrote on the Army Times Facebook page. "Coach, teach and mentor! We need soldiers who are willing to engage in close combat and fight the enemy and not have to worry about looking pretty in front of them."

Another reader, Josh Habisch, wrote: "Stop worrying about tattoos, tobacco and alcohol, and start worrying about the soldiers' ability to do their job, and leaders' abilities to motivate and teach their soldiers."

2. Dump overweight soldiers. "Get fat people kicked out," Shane Walton wrote on the Army Times Facebook page. "Too many plump E-7s and E-8s nowadays. Make them accountable for their appearance. Good luck to you in your new position! Make our Army proud of itself again and a feared service again!"

Lawrence Hoppman wrote: "Kill this new tattoo regulation. Focus on the fat and lazy soldiers instead of soldiers that actually do their job."

3. Up the standards for training. Many Army Times readers complained about the decline in the quality and toughness of Army training, including in basic training.

"Bring back the old basic training," Will Skiffington wrote. "None of these soldiers coming through have discipline. Stop dropping standards across the board, and start holding the Army to the highest standards."

Another reader called for a stop to the distractions to actual training.

"Focus NCOs on their jobs, not piling more requirements on them," Jason Lieuallen wrote. "Let them get back to their core competency, training soldiers!"

4. Stop the drawdown. The Army is cutting thousands of soldiers to reach an end-strength of 490,000 by the end of fiscal 2015. More cuts are expected in the future, possibly to as low as 450,000 or 420,000.

Officers have been hit with early retirement and involuntary separation boards, while NCOs have been subjected to the Qualitative Service Program, which is a force-shaping tool for soldiers in overstrength military occupational specialties, and the Qualitative Management Program, which focuses on senior NCOs who are not in compliance with Army standards of behavior and job performance.

"Stop cutting soldiers and start cutting contractors," Dan Nary wrote. "The experience of the last 13 years is being pissed away."

Joseph Brauchle agreed.

"Stop the drawdown," he wrote on the Army Times Facebook page. "There are way too many threats these days."

5. Empower NCOs. This was a recurring theme on the Army Times Facebook page, as soldiers decried an overabundance of political correctness in today's force.

"Give NCOs back authority to enforce the regulations!" John Whittenburg wrote. "Let us be/do, who/what we need to do again."

Anthony Richards wrote: "Let me dust off my hard-headed soldiers instead of messing their careers up with [Article 15s] and other paperwork. I learned in the mud and front-leaning rest. They should also."

Another reader, Kevin Tiddy, agreed.

"Trying to appease the younger soldiers instead of having them conform to the Army has caused a lot of the issue," he wrote. "The ever-changing standards are almost impossible for leadership to keep up with and enforce."

6. Get rid of toxic leaders. Soldiers also called for Dailey to help root out toxic leaders from the Army's ranks.

Suggestions include revamping enlisted promotions and providing incentives for good soldiers to make the Army a career.

"The best and brightest are worth so much more money outside the Army," reader Charles Harris wrote. "Being a senior specialist and seeing [dirt]bags promoted over me right before getting kicked out of the Army for drunkenly running through the barracks without pants is a little demeaning. Being outranked by a deserter is also not cool."

Habisch, who also wrote in about changing the tattoo rules, said: "A leader should never ask their soldiers to do something they don't, can't or won't do. Untie the hands of the NCOs. It's not hazing. It's giving a sense of urgency and discipline."

Other ideas

Army Times received nearly 1,000 comments regarding the new SMA. Here are some of the more humorous, unlikely or outlandish idaes for his first order of business:

Allow beards.

Return to BDUs and black boots.

Burn all the PT belts.

Free PT belts for everybody.

An AKO where you don't have to sacrifice your first born to get access.

Get rid of specialist rank and replace with corporal.

Bring back Green Beans Coffee in Iraq, expand into Syria and turn us loose.

Stop giving Bronze Stars to senior enlisted and officers.

Allow sleeve rolling in the spring and summer.

Raise the retirement age.

Stop the implementation of the new NCOER.

Push for a combat PT test.

Bring back all the pink-slipped soldiers.

Shut down Fort Polk.

Free beer on motor pool Mondays.

Recommended for you
Around The Web