Under this program, Commanding Officers (COs) have the final disapproval authority, if they feel early separation approval will be detrimental to the mission of their command. If commanders recommend approval, final approval authority is COMNAVPERSCOM (PERS-4832). Commanders have been instructed to carefully weight rating (job) and Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) manning of their unit, inbound reliefs, projected operational and Fleet response plan schedule, and other local manning factors in determining whether or not to recommend early separation approval.
Navy regulations already allow commanders to recommend approval of early separations for up to 90 days, for various reasons. Under this new temporary program, separation reasons are not required.
The program is open to enlisted only. Warrant Officers and Commissioned Officers are not eligible for early separation under this program. Enlisted Sailors (USN, USNR, FTS/TAR) of any rating (including non-designated personnel) are eligible to apply for early separation with the following exceptions (waivers with strong justification will be considered on a case-by-case basis):
- Service members under a Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) contract or in a rating/NEC eligible for SRB reenlistment
- Service members in the SEAL/EOD/DIVER/SWCC Programs
- Service members in the Nuclear Ratings
- Service members in ratings/NECs under any STOP-LOSS order in effect at time of submission. Should a STOP-LOSS order be put into effect for a member's rating/NEC after approval, that approval will be cancelled and the service member will be retained until the STOP-LOSS is lifted.
Service members serving on an enlistment extension agreement that become operative between October 1, 2004 and September 30, 2005 may request early separation under this program in conjunction with a request to cancel the extension.
Qualified sailors serving overseas may be separated early, provided they meet DOD area tour-lengths (usually 36 months for an accompanied long tour, 24 months for an unaccompanied long tour, and 12 months for a remote tour). Overseas tour length waivers will not be considered.
Sailors enrolled in the Active Duty Montgomery G.I. Bill (ADMGIB) who are honorably discharged under this program are entitled to 1 month of ADMGIB benefits for each full month served on active duty, up to a maximum of 36 months.
Those discharged under this program who have served a minimum of 20 months of a 2-year enlistment, or 30 months of a 3-year enlistment or greater term of service will receive the full 36 months of ADMGIB benefits. This program does not authorize service members to enroll in the ADMGIB if they previously declined or were not eligible for enrollment.
Those serving on active duty for more than 180 days are normally eligible for all Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, with the exception of the VA Home Loan Program benefit, in which two years of active duty service is required for eligibility. Voluntary early separation for service members with less than two years of active duty is a disqualifying factor for this benefit.
First-termers who received an enlistment bonus, separated early on this program, must repay the unearned portion of the enlistment bonus. For example, a sailor who received an $8,000 enlistment bonus for a four year enlistment, would be required to repay $2,000 of the bonus in conjunction with an early separation of 12 months.
Complete details about this program can be found in NAVADMIN 151-04.