Army encourages early retirement for some soldiers

Musadeq Sadeq/AP file photo

The Army will offer early retirement to eligible soldiers to help reduce its active-duty force by 80,000 service members over the next four years.

The department earlier this week announced that certain soldiers with at least 15 but less than 20 years of service are eligible for the early out, which would provide them with full retirement benefits at a slightly reduced annuity.

“Officer and warrant officers who have twice failed selection for promotion to the next grade and noncommissioned officers denied continued service as a result of an approved qualitative service program centralized selection board are eligible” for temporary early retirement authority, according to the Army News Service.

The Army wants to decrease the number of both active duty and reserve service members in the next few years as the Defense Department withdraws from Afghanistan. The qualitative selection board will identify by job and pay grade those service members whose skills are superfluous to the Army’s future needs. Soldiers targeted for an involuntary separation will have a year to take advantage of early retirement. The pay and benefits associated with an early out are more valuable than the bonus service members receive through involuntary separation, Gerald Purcell, enlisted personnel policy integrator with Army G-1, told Army News Service.

The Army last year, like a number of agencies across government, offered buyouts to some employees and has said it will make use of that incentive as well as its early retirement authority to trim its civilian and military personnel rolls. The Defense Department has to cut $487 billion from its budget over the next decade; the planned force reduction is the largest since the 1990s.

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