What is it? Section 14701, Title 10, United States Code gives the Secretary of Defense the authority allowing the Army to retain certain United States Army Reserve (USAR) and Army National Guard (ARNG) officers on the Reserve Active Status List (RASL) who would otherwise be removed upon reaching their Mandatory Removal Date (MRD). An officer's MRD is based on reaching the maximum years of commissioned service for the officer's rank or age 60, whichever comes first. Normally officers in the rank of lieutenant colonel are allowed to complete 28 years of commissioned service, while colonels may complete 30 years of commissioned service.
MRD policies are designed to provide control points for the involuntary removal of USAR officers. This facilitates upward mobility and precludes an aging force. This selective continuation allows for the voluntary retention of USAR, ARNG, and Active Guard Reserve (AGR) lieutenant colonels and colonels who are alerted for or ordered to active duty in support of the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The period of selective continuation is limited to the duration of the officer's mobilization plus 90 days, but will not continue beyond 33 years of commissioned service for lieutenant colonels or 35 years of commissioned service for colonels. This Selective Continuation (SELCON) does not apply to officers reaching MRD based on age. Upon completion of mobilization, officers shall be processed for separation or retirement, unless otherwise retained.
What has the Army Reserve done? The Chief, USAR, requested the authority to approve exceptions to length of service removal for officers. On 11 October 2005, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs approved the voluntary selective continuation (SELCON) of USAR, ARNG, and AGR lieutenant colonels and colonels who are alerted for or ordered to active duty in support of GWOT.
What efforts does the Army Reserve plan to continue in the future? In conjunction with the Active Army, and the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve will continue to analyze shortages with Reserve component units to determine if SELCON alleviates personnel shortages for deploying units.
Why is this important to the Army Reserve? This change will give Army Reserve commanders the flexibility to manage their senior leadership needs, at a time when experienced leadership is critical. The USAR is facing a critical shortage of senior officers needed to meet the mission requirements. Since 11 September 2001, the USAR has been rapidly approaching a very critical point in its ability to sustain the level of involvement of the Reserve Components, and in particular the USAR, in supporting Army missions and meeting Department of Defense global security requirements. First, and most pressing, the end strength of the USAR has steadily declined and is now below the congressional waiver authority floor. Second, the level of mobilized/active duty effort cannot likely be sustained under current policies, procedures, and practices beyond the next Operation Iraqi Freedom rotations. The availability of the USAR force is diminishing and cannot quickly or easily be re-established or reset.