Officers Ask, “What Happens When I Hit My Mandatory Removal Date?”

This week I am going to cover a topic from one of the viewers.  This topic is the mandatory removal date (MRD) for officers.  This is not a topic with which I have had to deal on a regular basis.  I had to do a great deal of research for this topic as a result.  I believe I should be able to describe the basics of the MRD in an understandable manner, though.

 

There is a similar rule for enlisted members (in the Army, it is called the retention control point). I will cover that topic at a later date.

 

The MRD is set by federal law rather than by regulations within each branch of service.  For this reason and unlike the way it manages enlisted service, the branch of service is not able to determine the requirements for separation of its officers to a great degree.  This is one of the reasons the officer management branches of each service have more difficult rules they must follow as opposed to their enlisted management branches.

 

Each of the statements I am about to make for the limits of officer service are backed up by federal law.  Be careful, though, not to take anything I say as a hard rule. You will notice that I use the word “may” a lot in this description.  As a warrant officer once said to me, “There is a waiver for everything,” at least, up to a point.

 

Let’s take a look at each type of officer and discuss the specifics of each.  However, I will not be covering in this article the rules for officers who are passed over for promotion to the next grade.

 

Commissioned Officers

Commissioned officers are limited to a certain number of years of commissioned service before they must be separated.  Prior enlisted service is not a factor here.

 

For officers in the grades of O5 and below, they are allowed twenty-eight years of commissioned service.  Separation is required once the officer reaches this limit unless the officer is on a promotion list to the grade of O6. For O6s, the limit is thirty years of commissioned service.  With these limits in mind, it is understandable why career officers have such concern on being promotable to the next grade.

 

General (flag) officers have their own rules for limitations on commissioned service. O7s may have no more than thirty years of service. O8s may have no more than thirty-five years of commissioned service or five years time in grade, whichever is later. O9s may have thirty-eight years of service and O10s may have no more than forty years of commissioned service.

 

There are exceptions to these limits for officers in certain positions.  I will describe those in a moment.

 

Warrant Officers

As with many things, warrant officer rules are quite different from those of commissioned officers.  The years of service requirements are much simpler in their case.  Warrant officers may serve up to thirty years and, with the approval of their branch of service, up to age sixty-two.  The Navy has a special rule limited their senior warrants, specifically those in the grade of W5, to thirty-three years of service.

 

Exception for Adjutants General, O9s, O10s, Academy Professors, Professional Officers and Chaplains

The needs of the service allow for officers in positions which are harder to fill to serve for longer than those of other positions.  Officers in professions such as the medical field and chaplains are allowed to serve up to the age of sixty-eight if their branch of service concurs.  Officers serving in permanent professor positions as the service academies may serve until the age of sixty-four.  In the case of O9s and O10s, they may serve until age of sixty-six if authorized by the Secretary of Defense and up to the age of sixty-eight if authorized by the President.

 

There is a special exemption for officers serving as the adjutant general or assistant adjutant general of a state’s National Guard.  In this case, they are not subject to the rules for years of commissioned service.  Mandatory retirement in the case of age, however, is still a factor.  In this case, officers serving as the adjutant general of a state must retire at the end of the month in which they turn sixty-six years of age.

 

Question from the Viewers (LTC Adams)

A few weeks ago, one of the viewers on the YouTube channel posted a question in the comments about a case he is working.  This viewer is a new retirement service officer in the National Guard.  He is working with an Active Guard / Reserve (AGR) officer who has reached twenty-years of commissioned service.

 

This officer is an O5 and is not on the promotion list to O6.  I will use the officer’s actual last name and will post some documents about him in the references.  For the sake of privacy, these references will not display his full name, unit of assignment, and the state in which he serves, though.

 

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Adams has over sixteen years of active duty service.  He commissioned as a second lieutenant in August of 1989.  This means he will hit his mandatory removal date next month.  The question from the viewer was whether he will be able to retire as an active duty service member or as a reservist.

 

The answer to this question turns out to be quite simple.  Since LTC Adams does not have twenty years of active federal service (AFS), he will not be able to retire as an active duty member and receive an immediate pension.  He will retire as a reservist and should be transferred to the Retired Reserve until he reaches his Retired Pay Eligibility Date (RPED).

 

On a happier note, LTC Adams is eligible for reduced retirement age, though, so he will be able to receive a pension prior to age sixty.  I am posting his retirement points and an estimate of his retired pay and how much extra he will receive from that reduced retirement age.  You will also see a copy of his 1405 Worksheet which shows how his reserve service translates into equivalent active duty service.  As you will see, he had a considerable amount of service (read that as a lot of retirement points) and will have a reasonable amount of retired pay as a result.

 

What about Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA)?  Can that help this officer retire since he has more than fifteen years of active service?

 

The current rules for the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (an active duty only rule) only allow for this type of retirement when an active duty member is removed from active service by way of one of the many retention boards we have.  In cases such as these, members with at least fifteen but less than twenty active duty years may request retirement under TERA.  Since LTC Adams is not being removed from service by one of these boards, he will not be eligible to request retirement under TERA.  I am also going to post the current TERA rules in the references.

 

*****

 

Well, now that I have filled your heads with all this information – I hope it was understandable, by the way – I believe it is time to call it quits for the day.  If you have any questions or comments about what I have mentioned today, please post them in the comments section.  If you believe this information would be useful to someone you know, please share this article with them.  As always, I encourage to share my YouTube channel and website with other reservists and family members you may know.

 

By the way, just for fun I am also going to post a brochure I found which gives some highlights of reserve retirement from 1952.  Take a look at it and see how much things have changed over the years. Check the bottom of the references section for that link.

 

Please join me next week.  Thanks for joining me today and, of course, thank you for your service.

 

D.J.

References:
Army Human Resources Command MRD Brief (PowerPoint)
MRD Information Summary Sheet
Army National Guard Personnel Policy Operational Memorandum 13-018 – ARNG T10 AGR Mandatory Removal Date (MRD) Guide
Army Directive 2016-27 – Temporary Early Retirement Authority
Military Personnel Message 17-199 – Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA)
Retirement Points Statement and 1405 Worksheet for LTC Adams
Retired pay estimate for LTC Adams
Mandatory Removal Date Calculator (Army Human Resources Command)

10 U.S. Code § 1305
10 U.S. Code § 633
10 U.S. Code § 634
10 U.S. Code § 335
10 U.S. Code § 366
10 U.S. Code § 1251
10 U.S. Code § 1252
10 U.S. Code § 1253
10 U.S. Code § 3911, § 6323, § 8911
10 U.S. Code § 14508
10 U.S. Code § 14512
Retirement Policy for Guardsmen, circa 1952

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway?

Related Podcast Episodes:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway?

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2


Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age

Here is a list of the types of active duty service that qualify for reduced retirement age.  This is a direct copy from National Guard implementation guidance so there are a lot of funky acronyms.  If they’re not already defined in the table, I’ll define them at the end of the table.

 

Statute Limitations Factors/Examples
10 USC 12301

*Full

Mobilization

 

Declared by Congress:

·         In time of war or national emergency

·         No limit on number of Soldiers called up

Includes Selective Service in addition to the full mobilization of all Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) members

 

10 USC 12302

*Partial Mobilization

 

Declared by the President:

·         In time of national emergency

·         No more than 1,000,000 called up

·         No more than 24 months

 

The national emergency is declared in an Executive Order.  The 24-month period is tied to the Executive Order.  Any campaign tied to the EXORD counts towards the 24-month period

·         Example: Executive Order 13223, dated 14 Sep 01 (ties Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom together)

10 USC 12304

*Presidential Reserve Call-up (PRC)

 

Determined by the President:

·         Augmented the AD for operational missions

·         No more than 200,000 called up

·         No more than 365 days (12 months)

 

Generally used for operations with ‘boots on the ground for no more than 179 days

·         Example: KFOR, SFOR, etc

A Soldier can only participate one time in a “named” campaign under PRC.  A Soldier can participate in many PRCs as long as the official campaign name is different each time

 

10 USC 12301(d)

Any volunteers for Active Duty

 

Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA)and Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (ASA M&RA) may order to AD any member who:

·         Volunteers (i.e. must have member’s consent)

·         With the consent of the Governor or appropriate authority (i.e. The  Adjutant General [TAG])

Examples: Contingency Operation-AD for Operation Support (CO-ADOSs), ADOSs, Medical Retention Processing Unit, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) violators waiting processing in some cases

 

10 USC  12301 (h) If a member is wounded or otherwise injured or becomes ill while serving on AD pursuant to an original call or order to AD under section 688, 12301 (a), 12302, 12304, 12305, 12406, and chapter 15 (insurrection), or under section 12301 (d) of Title 10 USC and is subsequently ordered to AD under section 12301 (h) (1) of this title. ·         Example: WTU medical care for the wound, injury or illness

·         Each day of AD under that order shall be treated as a continuation of the original call or order to AD

 

32 USC, 502 (f)

 

 

Called to Active Service by a governor and authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense:

·         In time of national emergency declared by the President  or

·         National emergency supported by Federal Funds

·         AGR Service under T32 502(f) is not applicable towards reduced age retirement

 

Time not applicable towards reduced age retirement under sect. 647 of NDAA 2008: Soldiers attending service school under 502 (f)

 

Examples:

·         Secure U.S. airports from terrorists

·         Assist in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina

·         Assist Department of Homeland Security in securing Southwest borders  of the United States

·         Support National Special Security Events as designated by the Department of Homeland Security such as Summer Olympics, G8 Summit

 

 

Acronym definitions:
AC – Active Component
AD – Active Duty
CO-ADOS – Contingency Operations Active Duty for Operational Support
EXORD – Executive Order
KFOR – Kosovo Force (a peacekeeping deployment in Kosovo)
NDAA – National Defense Authorization Act
RC – Reserve Component
SFOR – Stabilization Force (a peacekeeping deployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
T10 – Title 10 of United States Code (active duty and reserve law)
T32 – Title 32 of United States Code (National Guard law)
USC – United States Code (Federal law)
WTU – Warrior Transition Unit (a medical holding unit for injured service members)

 

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2


So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2

I recommend reading Part 1 before reading this article.

 

How do I prove I am eligible for reduced retirement age?

This is where a bit of record keeping is required.  As I’ve said before, don’t expect your branch of service to do this for you.  While they may have a complete record of the documents required to prove your eligibility, not all services are as fastidious about maintaining records as they should be.  You will need your active duty orders, all amendments to them, your release from active duty order (not required, but helpful), and your DD Form 214.  If you have multiple periods of active duty, like two or more deployments or other multiple qualifying tours of active duty, you will need to have these same documents for each active duty period.

 

You do not need to send these documents to anyone until you are applying for your retired pay.  It’s best to complete this application and send it to your branch of service at least six months before you are eligible (they are going to verify your eligibility before sending the packet to finance).  Your retirement services officer can assist you with this application.

 

That begs the question, of course, of when you are eligible.  If you are in the Army National Guard, you can find your eligibility date on your retirement points statement.  It can be found on the top right hand corner of your statement and is called the RPED (Retired Pay Eligibility Date).  If this date is your sixtieth birthday or is not as earlier as you believe it should be, you should contact the Retirement Points Accounting Manager (RPAM) for your state.  If you are a member of a different reserve component, you should contact a retirement services officer for assistance in computing your eligibility date.

 

I deployed to Iraq in 2006 while I was in the Regular Army.  Will this service count for reduced retirement age?

The short answer is no.  There are two strikes against this deployment.  One, it was prior to the reduced retirement age law; two, it was while you were in an active duty component.  Either one of these facts will make the deployment ineligible for reduced retirement age.  The law only applies to reserve component members and even then it only applies to qualifying active duty on or after 29 January 2008.

 

Great! I am a reservist and I have qualifying service.  I can get my retirement six months earlier than sixty.  What about Tricare medical coverage?

Here is the “bummer” factor of the reduced retirement age law.  Even though you can get your retired pay earlier than sixty, Tricare coverage for you and your family members will not start until your sixtieth birthday.  The only exception to this would be if you have purchased one of the premium-based forms of Tricare such as Tricare Reserve Select or Tricare Retired Reserve.  Again, consult a retirement services officer for more information about Tricare.

 

I am an AGR (Active Guard / Reserve) soldier.  Does my AGR service count for reduced retirement age?

Once again, there is a strike against this type of active duty.  AGR service is considered the same as being in a regular component and does not count for reduced retirement age.  However, if you have a qualifying deployment or other type of active duty during that time and end up not being able to retire as an AGR, you will qualify for reduced retirement age if you are also eligible for a reserve retirement.

 

I am serving on a Temporary Tour of Active Duty (TTAD) / Active Duty for Operation Support (ADOS) / Active Duty for Special Work (ADSW) order.  Does my service count?

This one is tricky.  Eligibility in this case is entirely dependent on how your orders are worded.  In most cases, this type of active duty does not qualify.  However, to be sure, consult with a retirement services officer.  He will be able to tell you whether or not the service qualifies.

 

I don’t have a DD 214 for my active duty service and my branch of service does not have one, either.  What can I do to prove I am eligible for reduced retirement age?

You have two options here.  I recommend trying both at the same time just in case one does not work.  You can request pay documents from your branch’s finance office and you can request Leave and Earnings Statements directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).  You can make the request from DFAS online at https://www.dfas.mil/customerservice/lesrequest.html.  You will need to upload a copy of a form of photo ID as part of this request so be prepared.

 

I believe that is quite enough for one day.  I know this is a lot of information to absorb all at once.  Please post a comment below or contact me directly by email if you have any specific questions.

 

Until next time, thanks for joining me today and, of course, thank you for your service.

 

D.J.

 

References:
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008, Section 647 – effective 28 January 2008
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 –  effective 19 December 2013
10 USC § 101(a)(13)(B)
10 USC § 1074(b)
10 USC § 12301(a)
10 USC § 12301(d)
10 USC § 12302
10 USC § 12304
10 USC § 12304(a)
10 USC §12305
10 USC § 12406, chapter 15
10 USC § 12301(h)
10 USC § 12731(f)(2)
32 USC § 115
32 USC § 502(f)
Department of Defense Instruction 1215.07 (with Change 1) – 23 September 2013
Army Regulation 135-180 – Qualifying Service for Retired Pay
Army Regulation 600-8-7 – Retirement Services Program – 18 January 2017
National Guard Regulation 680-2 – Automated Retirement Points Accounting Management – 19 August 2011
Personnel Policy Operational Memo 13-029 – Implementation Guidance for Reduced Retirement Age for Army National Guard Soldiers – 05 August 2013
Tricare.mil

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age


So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1

Now here is a topic that has caused a lot of confusion over the last several years.  Since the 1940s, reservists have had to wait until age sixty before they could receive their pensions.  Now there is an exception to that rule.  Please pay careful attention to what I’m about to say because there are a lot of rules to this exception.  Due to there being so much information about this change, this will be a longer article than usual.  I’ll try to make it as simple as I can.

 

In January of 2008, the law changed to allow certain reservists to receive their retired pay earlier than sixty.  This law was meant to recognize the increased importance of the reserve components in conducting, as it’s called, the Global War on Terrorism. This change went into effect on 29 January 2008.  Probably due to the cost involved, the change was not retroactive to 11 September 2001.

 

Here is a brief idea of how the reduced retirement age law works.  There are certain types of active duty service which qualify for this reduction.  For each ninety-day period served in a fiscal year under these types of active duty, a reservist will be allowed to receive retired pay three months earlier than sixty.

 

Did you notice all of the provisos in that last statement?  Yes, it’s a bit tricky.  The ninety-day blocks have to be within a fiscal year.  The federal fiscal year runs from 1 October of one year to 30 September of the next year.  This fiscal year rule means, for example, if a reservist has served eighty-nine days of active duty and then the ninetieth day is 1 October then that entire block of time (the eighty-nine days) will not count for reduced retirement age eligibility.  This means, in short, that a year of active duty service will not necessarily equal a year of reduction in the reservist’s retirement age.  This has disgruntled quite a few reservists.  More on that later.

 

Here is an example of what I said before.  Sergeant Matthews is mobilized to serve as part of Operation Enduring Freedom on 3 August 2009.  He serves active duty for a total of 390 days or until 27 August 2010.  3 August 2009 to 30 September 2009 equals 89 days.  This period of time will not qualify for reduced retirement because the next day, his ninetieth day, is the start of the new fiscal year.  His service for determining reduced retirement age eligibility will restart on 1 October.

 

From 1 October 2009 to the day he is released from active duty, 27 August 2010, he serves an additional 331 days.  If you divide the 331 days by 90, there are three full ninety-day blocks within this time frame (or 270 days).  As a result, Sergeant Matthews is eligible to receive retired pay nine months earlier than sixty.

 

That’s difficult enough to understand, but it does get easier for those who have served under one of those qualifying types of active duty later on.  On 1 October 2014, the law changed again to allow qualifying active duty to cross over fiscal years.  This means shorter periods of service in one fiscal year will not be discounted simply because 1 October has arrived.  Again, this change in the law was not retroactive.

 

Let’s take Sergeant Matthews’s example again and just change the dates.  SGT Matthews is mobilized on 3 August 2015 and serves until 27 August 2016.  This is a total of 391 days of active duty.  There is no limitation based on his service crossing two fiscal years.  Divide 391 by 90 and you see that he has four full ninety-day periods and, as a result, can now receive retired pay one full year earlier.

 

I hope that makes sense so far.  Let’s dive a little deeper in Part 2.

 

Until next time, thanks for joining me today and, of course, thank you for your service.

 

D.J.

 

References:
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008, Section 647 – effective 28 January 2008
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 –  effective 19 December 2013
10 USC § 101(a)(13)(B)
10 USC § 1074(b)
10 USC § 12301(a)
10 USC § 12301(d)
10 USC § 12302
10 USC § 12304
10 USC § 12304(a)
10 USC §12305
10 USC § 12406, chapter 15
10 USC § 12301(h)
10 USC § 12731(f)(2)
32 USC § 115
32 USC § 502(f)
Department of Defense Instruction 1215.07 (with Change 1) – 23 September 2013
Army Regulation 135-180 – Qualifying Service for Retired Pay
Army Regulation 600-8-7 – Retirement Services Program – 18 January 2017
National Guard Regulation 680-2 – Automated Retirement Points Accounting Management – 19 August 2011
Personnel Policy Operational Memo 13-029 – Implementation Guidance for Reduced Retirement Age for Army National Guard Soldiers – 05 August 2013
Tricare.mil

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2
Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age


Podcast Episode 0007 – So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway?

Links:
LES Request Tool (DFAS)

References:
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008, Section 647 – effective 28 January 2008
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 –  effective 19 December 2013
10 USC § 101(a)(13)(B)
10 USC § 1074(b)
10 USC § 12301(a)
10 USC § 12301(d)
10 USC § 12302
10 USC § 12304
10 USC § 12304(a)
10 USC §12305
10 USC § 12406, chapter 15
10 USC § 12301(h)
10 USC § 12731(f)(2)
32 USC § 115
32 USC § 502(f)
Department of Defense Instruction 1215.07 (with Change 1) – 23 September 2013
Army Regulation 135-180 – Qualifying Service for Retired Pay
Army Regulation 600-8-7 – Retirement Services Program – 18 January 2017
National Guard Regulation 680-2 – Automated Retirement Points Accounting Management – 19 August 2011
Personnel Policy Operational Memo 13-029 – Implementation Guidance for Reduced Retirement Age for Army National Guard Soldiers – 05 August 2013
DFAS.mil
Tricare.mil

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2
Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age