Soldiers who are feeling the heat of the drawdown should check out the latest version of the Reclassification In/Out Calls, a career planning tool that can be used to plot job changes.
The new calls, which took effect Jan. 5 and are posted below, show which of the near 180 specialties and skills in the enlisted job classification system are overstrength, balanced or short-handed, and have manning requirements in the ranks of private and specialist through sergeant first class.
The Army is scheduled to eliminate more than 10,000 active-duty soldier positions before Oct. 1, with many of those losses generated by re-enlistment restrictions and screening boards that will evaluate thousands of NCOs for possible involuntary separation or early retirement under the Qualitative Service Program.
Senior officials, to include Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, expect that retention screenings will continue through 2017 if the Army is required to cut, as expected, an additional 40,000 to 50,000 soldiers beyond those already planned.
Because of these ongoing and projected reductions, personnel officials say it is important for soldiers to look to the future and make themselves competitive in an increasingly competitive environment.
Moving from a military occupational specialty that is overstrength, and subject to QSP screenings, is one way for soldiers to boost their chances of surviving the drawdown, and position themselves for predictable promotion and professional development opportunities.
Job changes also can provide an immediate financial boost if a soldier's new military occupational specialty is eligible for the Selective Retention Bonus program.
Under the SRB rates that were last updated in October, qualified applicants can receive lump-sum payments of $1,600 to $72,000, depending on their rank, MOS and length of service extension.
The SRB incentives generally are targeted at soldiers with 18 months to 10 years of service.
Mega bonuses of $18,000 to $150,000 are available to senior NCOs in certain special operations and military intelligence MOS under the Critical Skills Retention Bonus program.
Soldiers who are authorized to re-enlist for an SRB that is skill- or location-specific are exempt from a list "out" call.
Jim Bragg, chief of enlisted retention and reclassification at the Human Resources Command, said that when soldiers research possible reclassification opportunities they should focus on three areas:
• Does their current MOS and skill level have an "out" call, meaning that it is overstrength.
• Are MOS and skill levels being looked at for a possible job change open to reclassification, meaning do they have an "in" call, and are balanced or understrength, and have good prospects for the future.
• Is training available in the reclassification MOS? Training opportunities change frequently throughout the year, and soldiers should contact their local career counselor for the latest information on class availability.
Several MOSs in the enlisted job classification system are "by application," meaning they have special entry requirements, such as security clearances, test scores and proficiency in a foreign language, that are in addition to the regular reclassification requirements spelled out in Army Regulations 614-200 (Enlisted Assignments and Utilization) and 601-280 (Army Retention Program), and the MOS Smartbook (DA Pam 611-21).
Soldiers need to contact their career counselor regarding "by application" MOS requirements.
Some specialties have such high-priority for the future they are open to all qualified soldiers, regardless of the in/out calls for an applicant's current MOS.The details are spelled out in the accompanying chart.
The Army also has a policy that allows Ranger-qualified non-promotable sergeants and below to request reclassification into MOS 11B (infantryman) without regard to the in/out calls. The Human Resources Command will determine if training is required for such reclassifications.
Only soldiers within the re-enlistment window are authorized to reclassify in conjunction with re-enlistment.These soldiers are not eligible to request a voluntary reclassification.
Under the fiscal 2015 retention program that opened Oct. 1, the Army has reverted to a 12-month individual opportunity window, rather than the static fiscal-year based system in place for the past several years.
Enlisted soldiers become eligible for re-enlistment under that system upon reaching 12 months in advance of their contractual expiration term of service, or ETS.
However, the Army retains a long-standing policy that requires soldiers to re-enlist no later than 90 days before their ETS.
This means when soldiers enter the 12-month window of eligibility, they will have no more than nine months to execute a service extension or re-enlistment contract.
Because of the drawdown, the Army has moved from an annual, 12-month retention mission format to quarterly missions in which commanders are issued re-enlistment goals every three months based on manning requirements in the various career management fields and MOS.
As part of the quarterly missions, the Army may restrict enlistments based on a soldier's ETS or military occupational specialty and skill level.
Soldiers can keep track of the strength status of their MOS by referring to the latest version of the in/out calls.