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 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.
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.
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?