by Army Master Sgt. Eric Reinhardt
U.S. Army Alaska Public Affairs
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — If you’re nearing the end of your Army enlistment, now’s the time to re-enlist, according to U.S. Army Alaska’s command career counselor.
For Fiscal Year 2013, which began Oct. 1, Soldiers with an end-term-of-service date between Jan. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014, are in the re-enlistment window, according to Sgt. Maj. Casey Deardorff.
“[Soldiers] must talk to their unit career counselor to discuss their options,” he said. “The window for re-enlistment closes 90 days prior to a Soldier’s ETS, so that’s an important consideration for everybody to remember as they think about their re-enlistment options.”
The Commander’s Allocation Process is a program introduced this October and allows only a limited number of over-strength first-term Soldiers to remain in their career fields. The CAP applies to 10 military occupations specialties: 12B1, 19D1, 19K1, 25B1, 25Q1, 74D1, 88M1, 91D1, 92A1 and 92G1.
“The Army has a certain amount of slots where skill-level 1 Soldiers will be allowed to remain in their current MOS,” said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Cameron, USARAK Retention Office. “Once they hit that number, or that CAP, the remaining Soldiers in the Army will still be able to re-enlist, however they’ll have to attend an MOS-producing school and change their MOS in order to re-enlist.”
It’s important to re-enlist as soon as possible to take advantage of the CAP, according to Cameron.
“Understand that there’s a limited number of Soldiers that can re-enlist to stay in that MOS,” he said. “If you wait, you might have to reclassify into another MOS.”
Amid talk of personnel reductions, the pace of retention at USARAK has been holding steady, according to Deardorff. The Army will downsize by the end FY 2017 to an end-strength of about 490,000 Soldiers.
“The retention process continues though,” he said. “We’re still re-enlisting similar numbers as we have for the past couple of years.”
“We have the best quality force of any army in the world,” Deardorff said. “Our Soldiers continue to achieve the highest level of professionalism and military expertise gained through 12 years of combat experience.”
However, he noted, Soldiers must be aware there is a renewed focus on discipline and standards and those unable to meet basic standards of physical-readiness training, weight control, and personal conduct will not have the privilege of re-enlisting.
“As long as a Soldier is doing the right things to maintain eligibility,” he said, “he or she should be able to re-enlist.”
Every Soldier’s circumstance is different, so it’s important to discuss your options with your unit career counselor, according to Sgt. 1st Class Teddy Fortenberry II of the USARAK Retention Office.
“You could have two Soldiers with identical MOSs and identical ETS dates and all the options are different,” Fortenberry said.
Factors include the strength of the Soldier’s MOS, skill level, time in service, and date eligible for return from overseas, or DEROS, date.
“They just need to see their career counselor to determine exactly what options are available for them,” Fortenberry said.
Staying in Alaska
Re-enlisting to stay in Alaska is a popular option for many Soldiers stationed in Alaska, Cameron said.
Soldiers interested in staying in Alaska can re-enlist for current station stabilization, which gives them up to 12 months of stabilization from their current DEROS. Eligibility is based on MOS, skill level and time in service.
Another option for Soldiers desiring to remain in Alaska is to submit a request through his or her unit’s personnel section for an in-place consecutive overseas tour, or for a foreign service tour extension.
“If approved, U.S. Army Pacific policy allows a Soldier to stay in Alaska for up to six years,” Cameron said.
“Soldiers interested in that should see their unit’s personnel section,” he said. “If you like it here, that’s a way you can stay here.”
Army re-enlistment rules change often, based on the Army’s personnel requirements, so if the option that interests you is currently available, re-enlist as soon as possible and for as long as possible, Cameron advises.
“If you’re in the re-enlistment window and plan to make the military a career, you should re-enlist for the maximum time allowed, because you don’t know what’s going to happen in three months, six months or a year.
For more information on Army retention policies and procedures, Soldiers should contact their unit career counselor for policy and processing guidance.