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    The Army Officer Email Chain that Caused Pandemonium

    The Army Officer Email Chain that Caused Pandemonium

    The officer who wrote this editorial has been granted anonymity by .com and is being identified by rank and initials due to fear of retaliation for writing without permission from the U.S. . The opinions expressed in this op-ed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

    It was the “reply-all” heard around the world.

    Around 06:30 Eastern time Feb. 2, approximately 13,000 Army inboxes pinged with an email from an unfamiliar sender. It was from a U.S. Army captain, asking to be removed from a distribution list. It initially seemed as though some unfortunate soul had inadvertently hit “reply-all” and made an embarrassing mistake. What followed can really be described only as professional anarchy, as thousands of inboxes became buried in an avalanche of email replies.

    Someone appears to have unwittingly edited an email distribution list, entitled “FA57 Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program,” routing replies back to the entire list.

    Most Army officers receive emails from human resources managers from time to time, usually sent using the blind copy (BCC) address line with replies routed to specific inboxes, preventing someone from accidentally triggering the mayhem that unfolded Feb. 2. The voluntary incentive program list, however, hadn't been so prudently designed and, in addition to 13,000 Army captains and some newly promoted majors, a single chief warrant officer, a Space…

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