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Forced-out colonels can stay in longer with waiver of law

Aug. 5, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Regular Army colonels who are selected for involuntary early retirement by a board that meets in November will be given an extra few months on active duty under a waiver of federal law approved by Army Secretary John McHugh.

The legal suspension applies to Army Competitive Category colonels in the zone of eligibility for the fiscal 2015 colonel Selective Early Retirement Board that convenes Nov. 12.

Officers slated for a retention screening by this board include ACC colonels with O-6 dates of rank of Aug. 2, 2008, through Nov. 12, 2010, who are not on a promotion list for brigadier general, have not been approved for voluntary retirement and who are not slated for involuntary early retirement under any provision of law in fiscal 2015 or 2016.

This will be the second SERB board conducted by the Army as part of the multiphase force reduction plan designed to reduce active component manning to 490,000 soldiers by Sept. 30, 2015, and possibly to 420,000 soldiers by the end of the decade.

The waiver approved by McHugh in June has the practical effect of moving the mandatory removal date for SERB-selected colonels from late fiscal 2015 to early fiscal 2016 by suspending certain provisions of Title 10 of the U.S. Code.

Under that law, officers selected for involuntary retirement normally are required to leave active duty no later than the first day of the seventh month after the secretary of the Army approves the SERB panel’s recommendations.

For example, if the secretary approves the results of the November SERB board on Feb. 1, 2015, the mandatory retirement date for selected officers would be Sept. 1, 2015.

The same provision of federal law also authorizes the secretary to extend the mandatory separation date, an authority that McHugh has opted to exercise for the upcoming board.

This means if McHugh approves the SERB results on Feb. 1, the mandatory retirement date for selected officers will be Dec. 1, 2015; their release from active duty will be reflected in fiscal 2016, rather than fiscal 2015, end strength.

Colonels who are in the zone of eligibility for the upcoming board, and who have at least 20 years of service, can avoid the retention screening by applying for voluntary retirement. Such requests must be received in the Senior Leaders Division or the Human Resources Command by Oct. 10.

Most requests will be processed no later than Oct. 27, and will have approved retirement dates no later than Sept. 30, 2015.

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