Due to an administrative error at Britain's Ministry of Defense, 38 soldiers recently learned via e-mail that their contracts would be terminated
in a year because of sweeping budget cuts. According to an Associated Press report, British soldiers who agree to these short-term contracts usually learn whether or not they'll be renewed each year around January. The Ministry of Defense first contacts those soldiers' commanding officers, who then notify each soldier of his fate in a face-to-face conversation. This time, though, the notification e-mails were sent directly to the soldiers, not their commanding officers. Administrative gaff or not, people aren't happy that the soldiers -- including one who is currently serving in Afghanistan -- were treated in such an impersonal way by the government that they're protecting. Defense Secretary Liam Fox apologized Tuesday, saying, "This is no way to treat our armed forces personnel."
As a result, each soldier who received a firing e-mail will now get to sit down with a commanding officer and discuss whether or not the contract will be renewed. While the outcome might not change, we're guessing that whoever was responsible for sending the e-mail in the first place won't get that same courtesy -- if they haven't already been ordered to pack up their office.