The Army announced last week that it will offer opportunities for early retirement to some soldiers with between 15 and 20 years of service. 

Army Directive 281/2012, “Temporary Early Retirement Authority” (TERA), identifies personnel eligible for the program as officers who have failed twice to be selected for promotion to the next grade and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) who have been denied continued service by a selection board.

Soldiers who are approved for retirement under TERA will receive full retirement benefits, but at a “slightly reduced annuity,” according to Gerald Purcell, the Army’s enlisted personnel policy integrator. 

Purcell said the qualitative selection board is identifying NCOs (by their military occupational specialty (MOS) and rank) who are considered excess to the Army’s future mission plans.  The board will rank soldiers “based on their potential future considerations.”  Soldiers will be notified once they have been selected for involuntary separation and will have a year to request TERA.

Decisions on officers and warrant officers who have been passed over twice for promotion to the next grade will also be based on the Army’s needs for skills and grades.  Albert Eggerton, deputy chief of the officer division, said that those officers with mission critical skills would be given the opportunity to remain in the Army even if they had not been selected for promotion.

The Army’s current plans call for a reduction in the active component from some 570,000 soldiers to about 490,000 military personnel by the end of FY2017.  Purcell said the Army will conduct the drawdown with “precision, care, and compassion.” TERA is one of the tools the Army is using during the drawdown.