Indefinite reenlistment offers Army NCOs security

by Staff Sgt. Marc Brooks
U.S. Army Europe Retention Operations

Contrary to popular belief, the Army’s Indefinite Reenlistment Program does not mean a Soldier is “locked in” to a contract with the Army indefinitely.

The program was designed to give quality NCOs in the ranks of staff sergeant through sergeant major a greater sense of security by offering a career contract similar to the one  by which Army officers are retained. It provides one final contract that will take them to retirement, said U.S. Army Europe retention officials. 

When an eligible NCO reenlists, he is processed through the RETAIN reenlistment computer system; completes all required reenlistment documents, and takes the oath of enlistment.  At that time, retention officials explained, the Soldier’s new Expiration of Term of Service date will become the same date as the Retention Control Point for his current rank.  For example, a staff sergeant can remain in the Army for 22 years and not have to reenlist again. From that point on, when the Soldier is promoted, his ETS date will be updated to reflect the RCP for the new rank.  RCPs for staff sergeants through sergeants major are listed in the accompanying table (see box).

If a Soldier serving on an indefinite reenlistment has less than 20 years service and exceeds an RCP due to being reduced in rank, the Soldier may remain on active duty to attain retirement eligibility unless separated earlier for other administrative, physical or Uniform Code of Military Justice reasons.

After reenlisting for the indefinite program, a Soldier can request voluntary separation or retirement, provided all Service Remaining Requirements have been fulfilled, in a manner similar to officers.

An example would be a staff sergeant with 11 years time in service who reenlists under the indefinite reenlistment program.  If the Soldier is reassigned to the U.S. he incurs a 12 month SRR.  Once the 12 months are complete, he can request separation through his servicing personnel office.

Some other examples of SRRs that a staff sergeant could incur include 24 months for promotion to sergeant first class; 12 to 36 months for reassignment (depending on the type of tour); or, 12 months to receive corrective eye surgery.

Soldiers who would like more information on the indefinite reenlistment program can contact their local career counselor or reenlistment NCO.

Staff Sergeant  22 years
Staff Sergeant (promotable)  24 years
Sgt. 1st Class   24 years
Sgt. 1st Class (promotable)  26 years
1st Sgt./Master Sgt.   26 years
1st Sgt./Master Sgt. (promotable)  30 years
Sgt. Maj./Command Sgt. Maj.  30 years