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Gates Shuts Down “Stop Loss”: The Congressional newspaper The Hill reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is directing military service leaders to develop “plans to minimize the use” of  stop loss for both active and reserve forces by the end of February. Gates could be reacting to a letter he received last week from four Republican Congressmen, expressing concern that the Administration’s planned 20,000-troop surge would require an expanded stop-loss program. Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) called the policy a “hidden draft.”