Focusing on the needs of the Army versus a “grow the Army” mentality, Staff Sgt. Bill Cunningham said Soldiers should be aware of new changes in the Army Retention Policy that take effect beginning in fiscal 2012, which begins Saturday.
Cunningham, a career counselor for the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said the new re-enlistment window policy is unlike what has been in effect during the last 10 years. It essentially decreases the window of re-enlistment for Soldiers.
The new policy, he said, aligns the retention mission with the Army’s strategic initiatives and will occur in two phases.
Phase One affects Soldiers with an ETS date between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2012. Cunningham said Soldiers who fall within this date range will have a four-month window for re-enlistment Oct. 1 through Jan. 31.
The second phase, Cunningham said, will focus on the fiscal 2013 population and is slated tentatively to begin in March and end Sept. 30, 2012 — the end of the fiscal 2012. Those with an ETS date occurring during the second phase will be able to re-enlist during Phase Two.
As a result of the changes, Soldiers need to “pull the trigger” when their window for re-enlistment opens because there will not be as much time, he said.
“Leaders at all levels will need to take a much more active approach with the coming changes,” Cunningham said. “The force is reshaping due to (the potential) decrease in worldwide missions and the budget. Soldiers need to look at the big picture and keep themselves informed as to what’s going on with ‘Big Army.’” Soldiers who have low line scores in an over-strength MOS may find it difficult to qualify for another MOS. Therefore it is important for Soldiers with low line scores to start working on raising those scores or risk being limited in their options.
Initial term, mid-career and careerist Soldiers will still have options, provided they are qualified. Depending upon which group a Soldier falls in, determined by number of years in the service, and whether they are in a balanced, over- or under-strength MOS, options available are regular Army re-enlistment, indefinite re-enlistment, Army training re-enlistment, current station stabilization, overseas assignment and CONUS station-of-choice.
Cunningham said bonuses are still being given, depending on eligibility, but are decreasing all the time.
“With money being tighter (the Army) is looking for ways to tighten the budget,” he said. “Soldiers need to contact their career counselors as soon as possible.”
For updated information about the implementation of the new retention policy at Fort Benning, visit www.facebook.com/MCoE.Retention.