Army offers early retirement
opportunity to Soldiers with 15 years or more of service
|WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — Soldiers with at least
15 but less than 20 years of service may be eligible for early
According to Army Directive 281/2012, titled “Temporary Early Retirement
Authority,” or TERA, officers and warrant officers who have twice failed
selection for promotion to the next grade and noncommissioned officers
denied continued service as a result of an approved qualitative service
program centralized selection board are eligible for the program.
“Soldiers who elect to retire under TERA and are approved, will receive
full retirement benefits at a slightly reduced annuity,” said Gerald
Purcell, the enlisted personnel policy integrator with Army G-1. He
emphasized that TERA is not an entitlement. The TERA is one of the tools
the Army is using to reduce the force in the coming years, said Purcell.
He said the reduction affects active-status Soldiers serving in the
active and reserve components.
The Army’s plan is to reduce the active component from about 570,000
Soldiers to about 490,000 Soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2017.
The Army has reduced the force before. But the force drawdown in the
1990s, for instance, was much different than the most current effort,
said Albert Eggerton, the deputy chief of the officer division with Army
“Now, the Army is making the call on who stays and the programs are
different,” he said.
Purcell said a priority with the latest drawdown is precision, care and
“Our goal to do this in a compassionate, caring way, and ensure Soldiers
and their Families are taken care of during the transition,” Purcell
The qualitative selection board is tasked with identifying NCOs, by
military occupational specialties and pay grade, who are excess to the
future force structure mission requirements of the Army, Purcell said.
Soldiers will know when they have been selected for involuntary
separation and that they have about a year to request TERA.
“TERA is a good thing for Soldiers to take if they have already been
identified for involuntary separation,” he said, explaining that the
involuntary separation bonus would not have the value of early
retirement in terms of pay and benefits.
The officer and warrant officer drawdown decisions are similarly based
on the Army’s mission requirement needs by skill and grade, Eggerton
said. He said some officers with mission-essential critical skills would
be allowed to stay in the Army despite not being selected for a higher
grade. For more information on TERA, see MILPER message 12-329.