WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Enlisted Voluntary Early Separation Program and Enlisted Involuntary Early Separation Program have some important changes that took effect Jan. 1.
The Enlisted Voluntary Early Separation Program is designed for soldiers who have employment offers and want to separate prior to the expiration of their term of service. They can now request getting out up to 180 days prior to their ETS.
Soldiers can request the separation through their local commanders, if they can show adequate salary or compensation from their potential civilian employers, and that the separation won’t hurt their ability to support their families, said James R. Bragg, branch chief for Retention and Reclassification - Involuntary/Voluntary Separation program, Human Resources Command, at Fort Knox, Ky.
Bragg added that of that 180-day maximum period, the soldier would need a minimum of 90 days for normal transition/separation processing.
The previous voluntary separation policy was for soldiers planning to attend college. That policy allows them to separate up to 90 days early, so they can begin their semester work, Bragg said. That policy remains in effect. Nothing has changed with that policy.
The new policy allowing for early separation for a job opportunity can be “good for the soldiers and their families” as they transition, Bragg said.
Further details of the changes can be found in All Army Activity message 340/2013.
The Enlisted Involuntary Early Separation Program has been in effect for some time for soldiers whose units are deploying and their ETS date is during that deployment.
In those cases, soldiers would be offered the chance to re-enlist, extend or choose a different unit or military occupational specialty, said Bragg. If they didn’t, they would be involuntarily separated up to one year before their ETS. That remains in effect.
The big change is that besides deploying units, the policy now also covers units that are going to be deactivated, he said.
Soldiers in units that will be deactivating will be given 45 days to extend or re-enlist from the time they’re notified, Bragg continued. If the soldier chooses not to extend or re-enlist, the soldier’s ETS would be reduced up to a year’s time — depending on the date his or her unit is deactivating — but not less than 90 days for the transition/separation processing.
The policy would not apply to units that are deactivating but are then reactivating as a different unit, at the same location. In that case, the soldiers would remain with their unit until their ETS dates, he added.
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Although no soldier has yet been affected by the change, Bragg said he expects there will be involuntary separations for those in units deactivating as the drawdown continues.
“We always give the soldier the opportunity to stay with the team first,” he added.
The policy for involuntary early separations can be found in All Army Activity message 339/2013 and Military Personnel 13-375.
Whether or not soldiers choose the voluntary separation route or the involuntary, they are afforded, as always, the opportunity to speak with a reserve-component career counselor for possible offerings in the National Guard or Army Reserve, said Col. Charles A Slaney, program manager for reserve component career counselors, HRC.
“We want to ensure all soldiers are treated with dignity and respect, and that when they leave the service, they’re ambassadors for the Army,” he emphasized.