Continuation is the deferment of involuntary retirement or discharge for failure of selection for promotion in permanent grades above O3.
10 U.S. Code § 611 : Service Secretaries may convene continuation boards in order to retain the service of officers who would otherwise be discharged or retired for reasons related to failing of selection for promotion.
10 U.S. Code § 637 : Officers subject to involuntary discharge or retirement may be retained on active-duty if selected for continuation by a board convened by Service Secretaries.
Limitations to the length of continuation are as follows:
- O3: 20 years of commissioned service
- O4: 24 years of commissioned service
- O5 and O6: continuation cannot exceed 5 years
O7s and O8s may have retirement deferred and be continued on active-duty by Service Secretaries, and O9s and O10s may have retirement deferred and be continued on active duty by the President. Continuation for these grades cannot exceed 5 years
10 U.S. Code § 14701 : A reserve officer in grade O2 who is to be discharged due to failing of selection for promotion may only be considered for selective continuation if they are a health professions officer or are actively pursuing an undergraduate program of education leading to a baccalaureate degree. Reserve officers in grades O3 through O6 may be selected for continuation and retained on the RASL for a period not to exceed:
- O3: 20 years of commissioned service (YCS)
- O4: 24 YCS
- O5: 33 YCS
- O6: 35 YCS
10 U.S. Code § 14702 : Service Secretaries may retain on the RASL any O4 through O7 who is either
- an Army National Guard officer assigned to a HQ detachment of a state (may be retained up to age 62) OR
- an Army or Air Force Reserve officer who is required, as a condition for continued employment as a technician, to maintain membership in a Selected Reserve unit (may be retained up to age 60).
10 U.S. Code § 14703 : Service Secretaries may retain reserve officers who are assigned to chaplain, medical, medical services, dental, nurse, veterinary, health, and biomedical sciences corps until those officers reach the age of 68.
DODI 1320.08 : Service Secretaries are responsible for convening boards for continuation of officers on the ADL and RASL. Army National Guard and Air National Guard officers cannot be continued without consent from the Governor.
The minimum and maximum periods of continuation of officers are as follows:
|Officer Grade||Officers on ADL||Officers on RASL*|
|O3||2 yrs from date that officer would have been discharged. Officers cannot exceed 20 YCS.||Officers cannot exceed 20 YCS.|
|O4||Long enough to qualify for retirement if within 6 yrs. Officers cannot exceed 24 yrs ACS.||Officers cannot exceed 24 YCS.|
|O5 to O6||Shall not defer retirement for more than 5 yrs.||Shall not exceed 33 (O-5) or 35 (O-6) YCS.|
|O7 to O8||Retirement may be deferred based on Service needs.||May be retained subject to Title 10|
|O9 to O10||Retirement may be deferred subject to POTUS approval.||O-9: may be retained subject to Title 10|
* Minimum continuation period determined by Service Secretaries.
Secretaries must also ensure that continuation board reports that consider officers on the ADL identify officers in the grade of O-4 not being selected for continuation when those officers are within 4 years of qualifying for retirement. They must certify that non-continuation is in the best interest of their Military Service.
Service Secretaries can retain reserve officers who serve in medical, dental, veterinary, chaplain, and nursing or biomedical capacities up until the officers turn 68 years of age, unless the Service Secretary determines that a longer retention period is necessary.
DODI 1320.10 : Any officer not qualified to be promoted from the grade of O1 to the grade of O2 on the ADL or RASL shall be retained for at least 6 but not more than 18 months. The officer may be promoted during the retention period if he or she is found qualified for promotion. The officer may be discharged at any time after 6 months if still not qualified for promotion.
Air Force Policy
AFI 36-2501: The SECAF determines the actual length of the continuation period. The continuation period may differ dependent upon the individual's grade and specialty. Captains, who possess critical skills, will not be continued longer than the last day of the month in which they complete 20 years total active commissioned service. Majors will be continued until the last day of the month in which eligible to retire as an officer (normally upon completion of 20 years of total active military service). Majors who possess critical skills may not be continued any longer than the last day of the month in which they complete 24 years of active commissioned service. EXCEPTION: Medical Corps/Dental Corps (MC/DC) majors are continued for three years and further continued for 3-year periods until they are within 6 years of retirement. When MC/DC officers are within 6 years of retirement, they are continued until the last day of the month in which they can retire as an officer.
AFI 36-2504 : Once SAF determines a service need exists, a Reserve of the Air Force officer (includes both Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard officers), required to be removed from the RASL due to twice failing of selection for promotion (current grade of captain and major), or for years of service (current grade of lieutenant colonel and colonel), may be considered for continuation status on the RASL Continuation is limited to the following periods of service:
|Current Grade||Commissioned Service|
|Lieutenant Colonel||33 years|
AR 600-8-29 : Subject to the needs of the Army, officers pending separation because of having twice failed to be selected for promotion to CW3, CW4, CW5, MAJ, or LTC, may be SELCON on active duty in their present grade. A SELCON board must recommend the officers for continuation and the SECARMY must approve the recommendation before officers may be continued. Officers may not apply to be SELCON. The SECARMY will direct a SELCON board to consider officers for continuation when required to meet the needs of the Army (10 U.S. Code § 580 and § 637).
The following rules apply to the duration of an officer's SELCON: (1) CPTs that would otherwise have been separated for having twice failed to be selected for promotion, may not be continued on active duty for a period which extends beyond the last day of the month in which the officer completes 20 years of active commissioned service, unless promoted to the regular grade of MAJ (10 U.S. Code § 637(a)(2)). (2) MAJs that would otherwise have been separated for having twice failed to be selected for promotion, may not be continued on active duty for a period which extends beyond the last day of the month in which the officer completes 24 years of active commissioned service, unless promoted to the regular grade of LTC (10 U.S. Code § 637(a)(3)). (3) Warrant officers (CW2, CW3, and CW4) will normally be continued based upon the condition set forth in the board MOI, unless sooner retired or discharged under another provision of law or regulation.
AMEDD officers on the ADL who were twice not selected for promotion to MAJ or LTC will, whether or not SELCON by the SECARMY as a result of the SELCON process, be continued on active duty to fulfill any ADSO incurred: (1) Under the provisions of Health Professions Scholarship Program as established in 10 U.S. Code § 2123. (2) For attendance at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences established in 10 U.S. Code § 2114. (3) For accepting a scholarship, fellowship, or grant established in 10 U.S. Code § 2603. (4) For receiving other advanced education assistance in exchange for an agreement to serve on active duty for a specific period established in 10 U.S. Code § 2005.
The SECARMY may authorize an officer in a grade above O—2 to remain on active duty after the date otherwise provided for the retirement or separation, if the officer has a military occupational specialty, rating, or specialty code in a military specialty, based upon SECARMY determination of the need for officers with such skills, occupational specialty, rating, or specialty code. An officer continued on active duty pursuant to this section shall, if not earlier retired or separated, be retired on the first day of the month after the month in which the officer completes 40 years of active service (10 U.S. Code § 637a).
AR 135-155 : An officer twice non-selected for promotion by a mandatory Reserve of the Army selection board must be removed within the prescribed time limits. However, subject to the needs of the Army, officers pending separation because of having twice failed to be selected for promotion to MAJ or LTC, may be selectively continued on the RASL in their present grade. The Secretary of the Army may direct a selective continuation board to consider officers for continuation when required by the needs of the Reserve of the Army. A selective continuation board must recommend the officers for continuation and the Secretary of the Army must approve the recommendation before officers may be continued.
Selectively continued officers, if otherwise eligible, will continue to be considered for promotion until separation.
Continuation for CPT and MAJ will normally be for 3 years from the approval date of the selective continuation board by which the officer is recommended for continuation. However, continuation may not extend beyond the date on which the officer completes 20 years of commissioned service (CPT) or 24 years of commissioned service (MAJ). The SA may adjust the period of selective continuation.
Subject to the needs of the Army, officers in the grade of LTC or COL, pending separation for reason of years of service may be selectively continued in an active status in their present grade, but not beyond the date on which the officer completes 33 years of commissioned service (LTC) or 35 years of commissioned service (COL).
SECNAVINST 1401.3A : The annual promotion plans from the CNO and CMC will identify guidance for continuation and selective early retirement or removal.
SECNAVINST 1920.7B : The Navy may selectively continue officers to meet needs subject to minimums and maximums set in law and policy. If O3s or O4s are within 2 or 6 years of retirement, respectively, they may be continued until retirement-eligible. Deferral of mandatory retirement of officers on the ADL may not extend beyond 62 years of age or be more than 5 years of continued service.
Marine Corps Policy
MCO P1400.31C W/CH 1: Active Duty List (ADL) officers in the permanent grades of CWO2 through CWO4, or captain and above who are subject to involuntary retirement or discharge for years of service or failures of selection for promotion may be continued on the active-duty list per policies and procedures established by 10 U.S. Code § 580 and § 637.
The Secretary of the Navy will convene continuation boards whenever the needs of the Marine Corps so require, based upon the recommendations of the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Regularly scheduled selection boards may be directed by the Secretary of the Navy to reconvene as continuation boards. The report of a continuation board shall be forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy for approval.
The CMC (MMPR) executes the continuation board based on the promotion plan and with the eligible population provided by Separations and Retirement Branch (CMC (MMSR)). CMC (MMPR) provides administrative oversight of the nomination package and delivers the results to CMC (MMSR). CMC (MMSR) is responsible for administering the results of continuation boards and will notify officers selected for continuation. An officer who is selected for continuation shall be afforded an opportunity to accept or decline the continuation. Those officers not selected for continuation will be notified by official correspondence from the CMC (MMSR), sufficiently in advance of the date of their involuntary retirement or discharge to allow those officers a reasonable period of time for personal planning. The separation of an officer who declines continuation will be considered as an involuntary separation under 10 U.S. Code § 580 and § 637 unless the officer voluntarily resigns prior to the involuntary separation date.
Officers on the RASL will be continued under procedures prescribed by CMC (MMSR) per SECNAVINST 1920.7C.
MCO 1900.16 CH 2: The continuation of officers subject to discharge or involuntary retirement is included in DOPMA as a discretionary provision to permit the Services to meet manpower requirements. DOPMA prescribes that continuation boards may be convened at the discretion of the Secretary of the Navy. Officers in the grade of captain and above, subject to discharge or involuntary retirement under pre-DOPMA or DOPMA, may be eligible. An officer not considered or selected will be discharged or retired as prescribed by law. Unless solicited by the CMC, individual requests for selective continuation will not be considered or forwarded. Absent a Marine Corps-wide program, individual requests are filed without further action.
The maximum period a commissioned officer may be continued on active duty under DOPMA after the decision of a continuation board is:
(1) Captains. A period not to extend beyond the last day of the month of 20 years active duty commissioned service.
(2) Majors. A period not to extend beyond the last day of the month of 24 years active duty commissioned service.
(3) Brigadier Generals, Colonels, and Lieutenant Colonels. Per 10 U.S. Code § 1251, any deferral of retirement and continuation on active duty under 10 U.S. Code § 637, for officers in the grades of lieutenant colonel to brigadier general shall be for a period not to exceed five years, but such period may not extend beyond the first day of the month following the month in which the officer becomes 62 years of age.
(4) Period of Continuation. The period(s) of continuation will be established by the Secretary of the Navy. The specific terms of continuation will be the subject of separate correspondence between the CMC (MMSR-2) and the officer continued. Continuation for one period does not guarantee a second period.
Continuation of Reserve Officers is based upon the following law and policy:
10 U.S. Code § 14701, provides the Secretary of the Navy with the option of continuing Reserve officers in the grades of major through colonel beyond the maximum service limitations of 20 years commissioned service (YCS), 28 YCS, and 30 YCS respectively, to 24 YCS, 33 YCS, and 35 YCS respectively. In addition, Reserve officers in the grade of captain with two failures for selection to promotion to the next higher grade may be continued to 20 YCS. SECNAVINST 1920.7C and SECNAVINST 1412.11, further delegate continuation of commissioned officers and chief warrant officers (respectively) to the CMC (DC M&RA).
Continuation opportunities are limited and based on the needs of the Marine Corps. Except in cases involving extraordinary circumstances and receiving approval from the DC M&RA an officer will not be continued beyond retirement eligibility. Additionally, those officers whose service places them within the confines of 10 U.S. Code § 12646 or § 12686, (active duty) are subject to sanctuary and shall not be considered for continuation.