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New re-enlistment policies expand Soldiers' options

By Eric Cramer

WASHINGTON (Army News Service May 13, 2005) -- Soldiers have a new set of re-enlistment opportunities thanks to policy changes announced by the Army this month.

The changes impact when Soldiers are allowed to re-enlist and what re-enlistment options are available to them when they decide to stay in the military, said Sgt. Maj. Scott Kuhar, senior Army career counselor.

“There are four options for re-enlistment,” Kuhar said. “Regular Army re-enlistment, which means the Soldier can be assigned anywhere, based on the needs of the Army; current station stabilization, where the Soldier will be stabilized at his current location for at least 12 months; Army training, the Soldier re-enlists to get training, whether that’s airborne school or a new military occupational specialty; Overseas, the Soldier reenlists for an overseas assignment; and Continental United States station of choice.”

Kuhar said Soldiers’ eligibility for these enlistment options depend on when they choose to reenlist.

Under the new policy, Soldiers can choose to re-enlist up to 24 months before their enlistments would end. Soldiers re-enlisting more than 18 months before their Expiration, Term of Service, will be assigned only to the first option – the needs of the Army. They also must re-enlist for a period that exceeds their ETS date by at least 12 months.

Soldiers who choose to re-enlist three to 18 months before their ETS date are eligible for all re-enlistment options. Those who re-enlist within three months of their ETS date are assigned based on the needs of the Army, Kuhar said.

He said the policy also means Soldiers can receive any incentive, such as re-enlistment bonuses, at the time they re-enlist.

“If there’s an incentive available, they are eligible for it at that time,” Kuhar said.

Soldiers who re-enlist more than a year before their ETS date must re-enlist for four years. Kuhar said Soldiers who want stabilization at a given duty station must re-enlist at least six months before they ETS, return from overseas or their unit reaches its “end of lifecycle date” when it will either deploy or redeploy.

Kuhar said one large change is that the Army now allows staff sergeants to remain on active duty for 22 years. Previously the “retention control point” for E-6 Soldiers required them to retire at 20 years. Kuhar said this change had already been made on a temporary basis for some MOSs, but is now permanent and covers all MOSs.

“We had a pool of people there who were doing a good job, and the question was ‘Why not let them stay?’” Kuhar said.

He said that currently there have been no changes to the retention control point for other enlisted ranks.

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