WASHINGTON -- Congress recently amended legislation that expands the services' authority to separate Regular Army enlisted members from three months to one year prior to their scheduled date of separation, referred to as Expiration Term of Service (ETS). The Army intends to begin using this expanded authority in June 2012 in a very targeted manner to address readiness in deploying formations and not as a force reduction tool.

The Army's Enlisted Involuntary Early Separation Program is targeted towards the small percentage of Soldiers in deploying units who remain in the unit's rear detachment due to insufficient time remaining before ETS to complete the deployment. The Army will not immediately increase the period of early separation to one year, rather it will implement this change in a phased manner based on scheduled unit deployment dates.

Soldiers assigned to deploying units whose scheduled separation date precludes them from deploying with their unit will be given the opportunity to reenlist or extend. Soldiers with more than three years of active service, but less than six years of total service that elect not to reenlist or extend will be subject to involuntary early separation. Additionally, commanders have the discretion to retain a Soldier for operational necessity or compassionate reasons.

The Army has incorporated measures to ensure Soldiers who elect not to reenlist or extend their period of enlistment complete all transition requirements prior to separation including taking advantage of the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) and other transition programs. Commanders will afford Soldiers as much time as possible, but not less than 90 days dedicated solely to transition activities, to ensure Soldiers and their families are prepared for the transition from active service.

The Army G-1 and Army Human Resources Command will send commanders and Soldiers specific implementation guidance. For more information, Soldiers should contact their unit Career Counselor.