The Army has issued new rules that place re-enlistment restrictions on some of the hottest military occupational specialties during the force buildup for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Just a few years ago, jobs such as explosive ordnance disposal and interpreter were netting huge bonuses and strong promotion potential.
Also included on the new restricted list are specialties for human intelligence collectors and cryptologic linguists with proficiency in Arabic.
The restrictions are part of the Army's Precision Retention Program, which applies to active duty soldiers, many of them first-termers who have been endorsed by their commanders, but must be screened for further service by the Human Resources Command.
The additional screening ensures that soldiers do not re-up in specialties that will have limited promotion and professional development opportunities as the Army gets smaller.
In some cases, soldiers will be approved for retention on the condition that they reclassify to an MOS with good career prospects, and that likely will not be included in a future culling under the Qualitative Service Program. The QSP is a force-reduction tool that enables the Army to cut troops in overstrength MOSs.
Under procedures adopted last year, commanders receive quarterly adjustments to their retention missions, rather than annually as in the past. The changes give HRC managers the flexibility to adjust the MOS content of the force as needed.
The Army may restrict re-enlistments based on a soldier's specialty, skill level and special qualifications.
The most recent changes were announced Jan. 12, replacing guidance issued in May 2015. The new guidance places restrictions on the following:
09L, interpreter and translator, Skill Level 1.
12W, carpentry and masonry specialist, Skill Level 1.
13T, field artillery surveyor and meteorological crewmember, Skill Level 2.
15J, OH-58D armament, electrical and avionics systems repairer, Skill Levels 1 and 2.
15S, OH-58D helicopter repairer, Skill Levels 1 and 2.
35M, human intelligence collector, Skill Levels 1 and 2.
35P, cryptologic linguist, all skill levels with language codes AZ (all dialects of Arabic), CM (Chinese Mandarin), HE (Hebrew), JN (Indonesian), KP (Korean), PF (Persian Farsi), PG (Persian/Afghan/Dari), PU (Pushtu), PV Pushtu-Afghan), PW Pushtu-Peshawari), QB (Spanish-Caribbean), SC Serbo-Croatian), TA (Tagalog), TH (Thai) and UR (Urdu).
89D, explosive ordnance disposal specialist, Skill Levels 1 and 2.
94Y, integrated family of test equipment operator and maintainer, Skill Levels 1 and 2.
Soldiers who hold one of the restricted specialties, and who are approved for retention by their commander will have their re-up request process through the Human Resources Command as follows:
• Retention requests (DA Form 3340-R) will be submitted to HRC by the soldier's local career counselor, along with an Enlisted Record Brief and any supporting documentation that articulates soldier accomplishments not reflected on the ERB.
• HRC officials will evaluate a soldier's record in comparison to other soldiers of the same MOS and skill level Army-wide.
• Based on Army requirements and the soldier's record, HRC will make one of four decisions – approve re-enlistment in the current MOS; direct reclassification to a new MOS; approve an extension of re-enlistment, or deny re-enlistment.
• Soldiers who are denied re-enlistment will have their records amended to reflect that decision. They may be eligible for separation pay if they have six or more years of service. They are eligible for continued service in the National Guard or Army Reserve.