Selective Early Retirement or Discharge

Selective early retirement or discharge is a board process, used primarily during periods of officer end-strength reductions.

Federal Law

10 U.S. Code § 611: Service Secretaries may convene selective early retirement boards whenever necessary.

10 U.S. Code § 638: ADL officers in grades O5 through O8 can be selected for early retirement if the following conditions are met:

  • O5: The officer has failed twice for promotion and is not currently recommended for promotion.
  • O6: The officer has served for 4 or more years in this grade and is not currently recommended for promotion.
  • O7: The officer has served for 3.5 or more years in this grade and is not currently recommended for promotion.
  • O8: The officer has served for at least 3.5 years in this grade.

No more than 30 percent of officers in each grade and competitive category may be recommended for selective early retirement. An officer in a grade below O7 may not be considered more than once in a five-year period within the same grade.

10 U.S. Code § 638a: (enhanced authority for selective early retirement). Until December 31, 2025, SECDEF may authorize Service Secretaries to convene selection boards to consider the early retirement of regular officers on the ADL if the following conditions are met:

  • Below O5: The officer has served for 1 or more years in this grade and is not currently recommended for promotion.
  • O5: The officer has failed selection at least once and is not currently recommended for promotion.
  • O6: The officer has served for 2 or more years in this grade and is not currently recommended for promotion.

10 U.S. Code § 14101: Service Secretaries may convene selection boards to recommend early discharge or selective early retirement of officers on the reserve active-status list (RASL).

10 U.S. Code § 14704: Service Secretaries may convene selection boards to recommend officers in determined competitive categories for selective early removal from the RASL. Officers considered by the board must have at least 30 total years of service, or at least 20 years of Federal service for retired pay.

10 U.S. Code § 14705: O7s and O8s in the Navy Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve may be considered for early retirement whenever the Secretary of the Navy determines that such action is necessary.

10 U.S. Code § 12686: Reserve officers on the RASL who are within 2 years of retirement may not be released from duty involuntarily before becoming eligible for retirement, without the prior approval of the concerned Service Secretary.

10 U.S. Code § 14513, § 14514, and § 14515: Officers who are removed from the RASL for reasons relating to failure of selection for promotion, selection for early removal, age, etc., are put into inactive status if Service Secretaries determine that the officers have skills matching mobilization needs, and into the Retired Reserve if the officers qualify for retirement. Otherwise, the officers are discharged from their reserve appointments.

Back to Top

DoD Policy

DODI 1332.32: Service Secretaries may convene boards to select Regular or Reserve officers for early retirement or removal from active status. Separate boards must be convened, as appropriate, for each grade, or grade and competitive category.

Back to Top

Air Force Policy

AFI 36-3203 : The SecAF uses selective early retirement authority to select officers for early retirement sparingly in order to manage an officer grade imbalance or strength overage within a competitive category. The AF does not use this authority for the sole purpose of enhancing promotion opportunity, nor substitute it for disposition of officers the AF should separate for cause.

Back to Top

Army Policy

AR 600-8-24, Officer Transfers and Discharges: Army officers may be considered for selective early retirement by a duly convened board under the following conditions:

  • A regular warrant officer who holds a warrant officer grade above WO1 and who is not on a promotion list of warrant officers recommended for promotion and who is retirement eligible under any provisions of law.
  • A captain who is not on a list for promotion to major who is retirement eligible or who after 2 additional years or less of AFS would be eligible for retirement.
  • A major who is not on a list for promotion to lieutenant colonel who is retirement eligible or who after 2 additional years or less of AFS would be eligible for retirement.
  • A lieutenant colonel who has been non-selected for promotion two or more times and who is not on a list for promotion to colonel.
  • A colonel who has served at least 4 years of AD in that grade and whose name is not on a list for promotion to brigadier general.
  • A brigadier general who has served at least 3 years and 6 months of AD in that grade and whose name is not on a list of officers recommended for promotion.
  • A major general who has served at least 3 years and 6 months of AD in that grade.
  • Officers with an approved voluntary retirement or an approved voluntary retirement in lieu of consideration by the selective early retirement/selective retirement board (or a mandatory retirement date during the same fiscal year as the board or the following fiscal year) will not be considered for selective early retirement.

Back to Top

Navy Policy

SECNAVINST 1401.3A: The CNO and CMC will annually identify guidance for continuation and selective early retirement or separation for Navy and Marine Corps officers, respectively.

SECNAVINST 1420.1B: SECNAV convenes selection boards to recommend officers for selective early retirement or separation based on recommendations from the CNO and CMC. Officers on the ADL in grades O5 to O8 or on the RASL in grades O7 to O8 may be considered for involuntary early retirement. Officers on the RASL in any grade may be considered for involuntary separation. RASL officers who are recommended for involuntary separation shall be discharged if unqualified for transfer to the Retired Reserve.

The Secretary of the Navy determines eligibility of Reserve officers for selective early retirement and specifies the maximum number (or percentage) of officers, for each grade and competitive category, that selection boards may recommend for early retirement or removal.

Back to Top

Marine Corps Policy

MCO P1900.16 CH 2:

Commissioned Officers: The Secretary of the Navy may convene a selection board under reference (c) Title 10 U.S.C. Section 611(b), to recommend Regular commissioned officers for early retirement as prescribed in reference (c) Title 10 U.S.C. (c) Title 10 U.S.C. Section 638, whenever the needs of the Marine Corps require.

Warrant Officers: The Secretary of the Navy may convene a selection board under reference (c) Title 10 U.S.C. Section 573(c), to recommend Regular warrant officers for early retirement as prescribed in reference (c) Title 10 U.S.C. Section 581, whenever the needs of the Marine Corps require.

Follows U.S. Law and DoD policy

Back to Top