The re-enlistment opportunity window for Soldiers, which previously ran from 15 months to 90 days before their separation from the Army, has been temporarily suspended, but only for Soldiers with a separation date through Sept. 30.
A Soldier’s window for re-enlistment now runs from 15 months before their separation, up to the actual date they leave the Army to retain quality Soldiers.
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Before this suspension, a Soldier had to make the decision to re-enlist by the time they were 90 days away from completing their contract. If the Soldier changed their mind within this window, they were required to submit an exception to policy.
Once the exception was submitted through the first colonel in the Soldier’s chain of command, it would then go to U.S. Army Human Resources Command, or HRC, for adjudication, said Sgt. Maj. Vickie Rivera, retention and reclassification sergeant major for the Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate at HRC.
The process often took several weeks, Rivera said. With this new 90-day window suspension, a Soldier will only need to speak with their commander and first sergeant to reverse a decision to leave active-duty service.
The goal of retaining good Soldiers is the same as it always has been, Rivera said. This suspension does not change the requirements for Soldiers, who want to stay active duty and re-enlist.
“They still need to be a quality Soldier,” Rivera said. “What we see at our level is all the paperwork and the documentation. This suspension streamlines the procedure to be faster.”
Sgt. Maj. Mark Mayo has been in the recruiting and retention field for 25 years and is serving as the retention sergeant major for the XVIII Airborne Corps.
Mayo said the suspension, of the 90-day window, will likely not affect a large majority of Soldiers eligible for re-enlistment. However, for the handful of Soldiers, who find themselves in an unexpected situation, where they want to reverse a decision to leave the Army, the change will benefit them.
“There are some good Soldiers out there whose plans do fall through – either with college, or jobs, or their spouse gets pregnant,” Mayo said. “There’s a lot of things that come up; so this change would give them the opportunity to move forward.”
Accompanying this suspension, Soldiers within the 90-day window from their separation date will be offered the same options as Soldiers re-enlisting several months before they are due to leave active-duty service, Rivera said. Previously, a Soldier re-enlisting within this window was limited in choice for potential duty assignments, or locations, based on the needs of the Army.
One thing, which will remain the same, is the option for a Soldier, who has signed up for the Army Reserve or National Guard to change their mind and continue on in an active-duty capacity, Rivera said. They can change their mind any time before their separation date.
This is a temporary suspension, Rivera said. At this point, it is unknown when, or if, the suspension of the 90-day window will be lifted.
It is important for Soldiers to stay in contact with their career counselors, Rivera said. In addition to changes in procedure, like the suspension of this pre-separation window, re-enlistment windows fluctuate.