WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 13, 2011) -- The Active Guard Reserve program allows Soldiers transitioning off active duty the opportunity to compete for AGR positions closer to home.

“Soldiers who serve on the AGR program are full-time support to both U.S. Army Reserve units as well as to outside agencies that deal with the Army Reserve,” said Mark Russo, chief of the Army’s Force Alignment Division. “They are on active duty, so they have all the same benefits, pay and allowances, and active federal service time as a full-time, active component Soldier.”

After being in the active component, many Soldiers -- some having deployed three or four times -- are ready to stay in one specific area of the country.

Jonathan Stone deputy chief of FAD, also explained how AGR helps these Soldiers by providing an option to stay with the military rather than leaving completely.

“They want a change of pace or a change of venue, much the same way that an active-component Soldier wants to do a PCS (permanent change of station) to a different location,” said Stone. “Joining the Active Guard Reserve program will open huge untapped and unavailable opportunities that they might not have in the regular Army.”

The promotion system of AGR is very similar to that of the active-component system. Russo explained that the requirements, time and service, and schooling are all the same as the active component.

Soldiers in the AGR program can also be invited to attend the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.

The enlisted AGR program is primarily looking for Soldiers in the following areas: Adjutant General; Army Nurse Corps; Aviation; Chemical Corps; Civil Affairs; Engineer; Finance; Judge Advocate General's Corps; Medical Service Corps; Military Intelligence; Military Police; Ordnance; Public Affairs; Quartermaster; Recruiting; Signal; and Transportation.

While the AGR program is not directly linked with the downsizing of the army, it does allow Soldiers who will leave active duty additional opportunities.

AGR has moved from St. Louis and is now consolidated with Human Resource Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

The application process for AGR is completely online, which helps speed up the application process.

“You no longer have to wait nine to 10 months before you get a job opportunity if there’s a vacancy,” said Russo.

Soldiers interested in applying must complete and submit an application packet found online at www.hrc.army.mil/portal. AKO password or CAC is required.

The requirements for AGR can also be found online at www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r135_18.pdf.