Re "Military Rethinks Axing Also-Rans," June 13: It sounds like such a good idea; keep those who can contribute to the armed forces after they've been passed over for promotion. Yet a number of items have been overlooked in the article: Congress establishes the number and grade of personnel in each of the armed forces. So if you retain an officer who has been passed over for promotion, he still counts against the number of authorized officers of that grade. That means that an officer in the next lower grade who is qualified for promotion cannot be promoted because there will be no opening. Those passed over have met the test of the Peter Principle and do not meet the future needs of the armed forces.
It is true that they don't explain why you were passed over, but if you look at your fitness reports and your duty assignments as compared to your contemporaries, you may see why. Also, when a selection board is impaneled, it is given instructions as to the qualifications of personnel who should be considered for promotion. Finally, I will be the last one to tell you that the selection boards always make the right selection, because they don't. I've seen officers promoted who I believed could not be what the armed forces needed in their future.
Anthony T. Dunn