Posted on Jul 7, 2014
SFC A.M. Drake
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In an expanded effort to slim down the force, the Army is offering more 15-year retirements to officers with prior-enlisted service.

Army Secretary John McHugh, in a June 17 directive, granted early retirements to prior-enlisted officers with eight years or more commissioned service. Previously this voluntary separation was only available to prior-enlisted officers with at least 10 years of commissioned service. Warrant officers are not eligible.

These officers are only retirement eligible if they have 15 years of active-duty service.

As of May 30, there were 256 active-duty officers with eight years of commissioned service who qualify for the early retirements, and 176 with nine years who are eligible.

The 15-year retirement option is officially called the Temporary Early Retirement Authority. Congress authorized its use in 2011 as a force management program to be used through Sept. 30, 2018.

McHugh OK’d it for the Army in 2012 as the service prepared to launch a series of retention screening boards for officers and senior noncommissioned officers of the Regular Army and Army Reserve.

Before now, the use of TERA had been restricted to people identified for separation by involuntary release boards and those who have been passed over for promotion.

The special program allows soldiers with at least 15 but fewer than 20 years of active service to receive the same benefits as those who retire with 20 or more years of service, except that their retirement pay is reduced accordingly.

Before McHugh’s June 17 directive, it was possible for prior-enlisted officers to retire with only eight years commissioned service, but it required a waiver. The new rules are effective through Congress’ 2018 deadline.

Soldiers who have 18 to 20 years of service, and who are in the retirement lock-in category of federal law, may not be discharged unless recommended by a court-martial convening authority, and approved by the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs.

The Army has Congressional authority to ease the retirement lock-in rule — requiring colonels and lieutenant colonels to serve at least three years after promotion to retire in those ranks — but McHugh has not yet decided to use it.

The Army recently increased the retirement lock-in for promotion to the senior NCO ranks from two to three years.

Staff writer Jim Tice contributed to this report.
Posted in these groups: United states army logo ArmyOfficers logo OfficersRetirement logo Retirement
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Responses: 15
LTC Battalion Commander
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I like having this option in my back pocket if I survive the OSB, since I will be short 3 months if selected.
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CPT Company Commander
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CPT Forcier,

I am so sorry to hear you got caught up in this.

Sarah
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CPT Michael Forcier
CPT Michael Forcier
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CPT (Join to see) I am absolutely positive.
CPT (Join to see) Thanks Sarah. How have you been?
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MAJ Assistant Professor Of Military Science
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I think it is absolute garbage. They should have done a bit more thinking into the issue with prior service officers who have enough time to retire but not enough time for the 8 years like Mike was talking about. They should have lowered the requirement to 6 years for YG 09 officers if they qualify.
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PO1 Edward Markovich
PO1 Edward Markovich
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Mike, Choke the system with appeals. You already have 20+, regardless. It's a sorry scenario, but you may have to buy another two years with another deployment, if possible. If you have no other option, start contacting private security firms to transition to immediately.
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MAJ FAO - Europe
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CPT Michael Forcier Three months after you original post, I'm sure you've found an answer, but, if not, the answer, clearly, is yes.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/11/14/report-army-officer-cuts-disproportionately-hit-prior-enlisted.html?ESRC=todayinmil.sm
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CPT Michael Forcier
CPT Michael Forcier
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Sir, I am still waiting for the answer, but yes that is clearly what the Army is doing. I presented the same question to the Army via a Congressional Inquiry on 29 July and am on the 3rd request for more time to respond from the Army. I argue that what they are doing is not IAW the law.
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MAJ FAO - Europe
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CPT Michael Forcier Sorry to hear the Army isn't giving you a timely response; can't say that surprises me, though. And I expect that the Army is trying to figure out how to do right by the 101 officers in this situation that you mention---or, rather, I surely hope the Army is trying to do the right thing.
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WO1 Pilot
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Wow I'm super late to this conversation but this was a great article.
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SSG Human Resources Specialist
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My opinion, take the early TERA, yes its reduced retirement but it's not without its point of concern. But here's the thing, what if you don't take it and you fall short of reaching sanctuary, who's to say if TERA will be available at your 17th year of service. I saw this happen in 93, these guys wanted to hang on, but got involuntarily separated before they hit their 18th year, there was no retirement, just a severance check. I know, it's a 'shoulda coulda woulda' moment. Something to think about.
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SFC A.M. Drake
SFC A.M. Drake
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SSG Garza you are correct. my thought would be why not offer this to the senior enlisted.
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SSG Human Resources Specialist
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SFC A.M. Drake, back in the 90's, when the Army offered VSI/SSB, a lot of good NCOs left, to include the ones who were stagnant in their careers. With the current conflict still going on abroad, might be a reason if they're only limiting it to those with 15 yrs but less than 20. Reshaping boards and especially if you have any derogatory info in your record, make you a candidate for TERA. If E7s and E8s wanted to apply for TERA and they weren't facing a board, thats a large exodus the Army can't afford in the way of a huge MOS/rank imbalance. How many SSG(P) & SFC(P) are available to fill those slots and with the right MOS? MAJ Carl Ballinger brings up a good point, we have the most knowledgeable & experienced combat force, how much of that can we really afford to lose?

Stars & Stripes did an article back in February of this year, that senior enlisted were being targeted by QSP thru 2018 when TERA is supposed to end. The number they kicked around was around 80K, were to be out by 2018; they already started this process back in 2012.
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SSG Human Resources Specialist
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SSG Mike Angelo
SSG Mike Angelo
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Yup, I remember real well the Clinton era RIF/TERA severance pay, no ID card, no benefits. It was crazy, talk about a witch-hunt... My hand went up for any assignment, I took it and got out of country. When I got back, alot of good NCOs were gone. My Branch NCO had just received his BS degree and died of a massive heart attack, some got medical boarded, and others took the severance.

The lessons learned here is the military industrial complex design and development under Dick Chaney. He had vision that someday, the RIF would come and hit the military hard, so....that opened up lots of opportunity for military experience contractors.

So if you feel froggy and want to leap out of the active military, now you got a home to go to. Thanks Dick.
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