Well, I know a few spouses who will love the idea of this new program! If your soldier’s up for a deployment and coming up on his ETS date, he may not have to go – but he won’t be in the Army any more either.
Due to the decreased requirements in the total number of active duty military, the Army has instituted a program which will allow soldiers to ETS up to 12 months before their scheduled ETS date.
This applies to soldiers in two situations:
1. If the soldier is set to deploy with a unit overseas and the soldier will have less than six months left in service at the time the unit arrives in theater.
For example, if the soldier’s unit deploys to Afghanistan in April and the soldier is set to ETS in August, he will be eligible for this program. If the soldier does not extend his contract or re-enlist to encompass the deployment dates, he can be involuntarily separated up to 12 months before his original ETS date.
2. If the soldier is assigned to a unit that is facing inactivation.
If the ETS date falls between the inactivation date of the unit and the inactivation date plus one year, the soldier can be involuntarily separated within 12 months of his original ETS date. This can apply if the soldier does not extend his contract or re-enlist.
It’s important to note that while these separations will be classified as involuntary due to “government convenience”, soldiers will maintain the benefits they would have been entitled to had they served until their original ETS date.
This includes VA benefits and the GI Bill. Also of note is that any enlistment or signing bonus will not be prorated due to the shorter time of service.
The DD214 will state that separation was due to “insufficient retainability”.
If a soldier is interested in this program and falls under one of the two scenarios listed above, he should speak with his unit or career counselor on post.
As this progresses, it should be interesting to see how this plays out. Will the soldiers be given an option or if they fall into one of these scenarios, will they automatically be involuntarily separated unless they extend or re-enlist?
Have you started to see any instances of this happening?