This story has been around for years, and has been covered many times before, but something happened this weekend that reminded me that while certain stories are well-known to folks who are directly affected by the stories or are politically active, they are still 'breaking news' to folks who aren't directly affected or aren't as politically active.
In short, it's not *new* news, but it rates a post.
While at work this weekend, one of my colleagues (who is as apolitical a person as I know), stopped by and mentioned that he saw the movie "Stop Loss" last week and was surprised to hear about the Pentagon's 'stop loss' policy that forces service men and women to stay in the military even after their terms of enlistment have expired. In addition, the policy forbids affected soldiers from transferring to non-combat units while under 'stop loss' orders.
The policy is used when the affected branch of the military doesn't have enough incoming recruits to replace outgoing veterans.
Not only are the lives of the affected servicemembers disrupted, so are the lives of their families, who don't know when their loved ones are returning home to stay.
It's a policy that has been used by all of the services since 9/11, but only the Army still uses it to any significant extent. According to this article from Stars and Stripes, they expect to use it until at least the summer of 2009.
A 2008 USA Today article on the current ramifications of the policy here.
A 2004 Army press release on the program here.