According to the Army Times, "The Army is preparing to launch in March a five-year, nearly 50,000-soldier drawdown, using a combination of accession cuts and voluntary and involuntary separations, similar to the post-Cold War drawdown of the 1990s, according to Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, service personnel chief."

This begs the question; Will you be ready if it happens to you?

By now, there's lots of uncertainty, speculation, and plenty to keep military folks rightly concerned about what MIGHT happen. (Not to mention, all the dialogue and commentary on social media websites.) As more details unfold on this impending drawdown, your potential decisions and plans need to show more clarity, focus, and specifics.

Uniformed Military and Military Spouses need to prepare for anything. You already have plans in place for many aspects of your military life. If you've served or supported someone during deployment, moved to a new duty assignment, changed jobs, or even had a change in your family, you had to make plans and preparations of some sort. Now is the time to get ready just in case your number comes up for leaving the military. So, how can you plan and prepare?

Here are some things that Military Spouses and Uniformed Military can do to prepare:

  1. Do your best at your current job. Don't give anyone any reason to even consider you for separation. Strive to do your best each and every day.
  2. Start building your resume. Volunteer for additional work assignments. Maximize all opportunities presented to you. Get documented proof that you did a great job!
  3. Dust off that old yearbook! In other words, find all of your old performance evaluations, letters of appreciation, awards, and all that stuff that proves your worth. This is the stuff great resumes are made of!
  4. Take inventory of your skills and abilities. Do some soul-searching. Make a list of all the things you know you do well. Brag about yourself on paper. Give yourself credit for what you do.
  5. Find out what's available just in case you have to make that military-to-civilian career transition. Do some fact-finding to see what's out there. Find out what resources can help you. Awareness and preparedness helps you succeed.
  6. Create a "What if?" Plan. Write down all the possibilities with extreme detail. Think about what you would do if you found out your military career ended tomorrow. Keep updating this plan. Make changes as necessary. Refer to it often.
  7. Stay positive! The best thing you can do is keep a positive attitude during all of this uncertainty. While many rumors will fly, people will guess as to who is getting cut and when. Don't get stuck in a negative mindset. Take the high road!

The fact remains that there's not a whole lot you can do about the final decision once it's made. Look at this as an opportunity to raise the bar for yourself. If you end up staying in, you will be better for it. If you end up having to leave the military earlier than expected, you will be ready for the next chapter of your work life.

Make yourself more marketable. Make a personal, individualized plan for a career inside or outside the military. Make the best of this situation with a positive attitude.