FORT KNOX, Ky. (June 12, 2015) -- The Army's Career Intermission Pilot Program, or CIPP, is back for another iteration and has been extended through December 31, 2019.

Under the program, Soldiers can apply for a one time, temporary transition to the Individual Ready Reserve to pursue professional or personal growth outside the Army, said Albert Eggerton, deputy chief, Officer Division, U.S. Army G-1. At the end of their intermission they will re-enter the Army with a service obligation of two months for every month they were out.

"The program has slots available for 20 officers and 20 enlisted Soldiers each calendar year," said Eggerton. "It is targeted to officers in year groups 1999 through 2011; warrant officers; sergeants and staff sergeants in the regular Army; and active Reserve Soldiers who have completed their initial three-year term on active duty."

The pilot program was authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act in 2009 in order to determine whether giving Soldiers a break in service will help to 'retain the valuable investment in experience and training that is otherwise lost when a Soldier separates permanently,' said Eggerton.

Patricia Woods is the CIPP program manager for the Enlisted Personnel Management Division at U.S. Army Human Resources Command, or HRC. She said most of the enlisted applicants she is working with are looking into the program to purse educational goals or spend time with family members when unexpected life events occur.

Woods said this program is a good option for Soldiers that have something come up in their lives that they need to focus their full attention on before continuing with their military careers.

Woods discussed several situations in which Soldiers have decided, or are considering using CIPP. One Soldier had parents who are in very poor health and this Soldier wants to be able to spend the last couple of years with them. Another Soldier has a child with disabilities and he wants to be able to take the child to doctor appointments and focus his full attention on the child. Other Soldiers are undergoing fertility treatments and want to focus their time on starting families.

One Soldier had parents that were in very poor health and he wanted to be able to spend the last couple of years with his parents; another Soldier had a child with disabilities and he wanted to be able to take the child to doctor appointments and focus full attention on his child; and other Soldiers are undergoing fertility treatments and want to focus their time on starting families, said Woods.

While on intermission, Soldiers cannot use Army tuition assistance but are able to use their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, said Woods. While Soldiers are able to pursue any education degree or program they want to, they also maintain their current rank and grade.

"CIPP is not a commissioning program," said Woods. "So, you are going to come back in, the way you went out."

"It is important for Soldiers to understand the differences in their benefits while using this program, said Robert Peterson," CIPP Program Manager, Officer Personnel Management Division, Human Resources Command. "Soldiers will continue to receive TRICARE, commissary privileges and one-thirtieth of their base pay twice a month."

Peterson previously worked with compassionate reassignments for Officer Personnel Management Directorate. He said CIPP can be an alternative for Soldiers who cannot be reassigned under the Compassionate Reassignment Program but have the financial resources in place to support themselves and their families while participating in an intermission through CIPP.

"Through the compassionate program, the situation the Soldier is being reassigned for has to resolve itself within one year," said Peterson. "Many of the Soldiers looking into compassionate reassignment had family members with illnesses requiring treatments that would exceed the year time limit. A program like CIPP would have been an 'excellent' alternative for them."

Peterson said the program can also benefit dual-military families who may not have had much time together based on the deployment rhythms of the last several years.

"I have a Soldier who just had her second child and her and her husband's assignment cycles just have not synced," said Peterson. "So she is getting out for 21 months so she and her husband's schedules will line up when she comes back in and they can go to the Intermediate Level Course together."

"With the second iteration of this program, there is no cutoff date for applications," said Eggerton. "Soldiers must apply for the program 8 months before they want to begin their intermission to allow time to complete the application and complete the congressionally-mandated Soldier for Life program."

"While on intermission, Soldiers must contact their program managers once a month and are responsible for maintaining their physical fitness," said Woods. "When the time comes to reenter the Army, the Soldier must be able to meet the established standards the Army sets for retention."

"Soldiers who believe they are not eligible for the program may be able to apply for an exception," said Eggerton. "Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis providing that the exception does not violate any of the statutory requirements."

For more information, please refer to Milper message number 15-161.