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Army to Discharge Reserve Non-Participants

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Updated March 02, 2006
Under a personnel initiative, Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers who do not attend required weekend training may soon face streamlined discharge procedures.

In the past, reserve-component Soldiers who did not attend the required number of battle assemblies were sometimes transferred out of their unit and into the Individual Ready Reserve. Now these “non-participants” may be expeditiously discharged from the Army and could lose benefits, according to G1 officials. They said the type of discharge will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Under the new initiative, non-participating Soldiers will first be encouraged to resume training with their unit, officials said.

The notification procedures for separating Soldiers who do not train with their unit will be abbreviated under the new policy. In the past, four certified letters had to be sent to Soldiers who were not attending training.

Now a notification will be sent and a Soldier will have 30 days to respond. If the Soldier does not respond and return for training, officials said his file will be reviewed by a board to determine the type of discharge to be administered.

The abbreviated notification procedures for separation will be phased in regionally over a 12-month period, beginning with the East Coast.

“The Reserve component will take a full inventory of Soldiers assigned to Reserve units,” said Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve. “This inventory will identify those Soldiers that have failed to participate in required unit training and have, therefore, been identified as unsatisfactory participants.”

The expected result will be fewer non-participants on unit rosters, providing a more accurate picture of unit readiness, officials said. At the same time, other Soldiers can be recruited or promoted into the resultant vacancies.

Col. Elizabeth F. Wilson, deputy director of Military Personnel Management for the Army G-1, said the Army is at war and transforming and must take a full accounting of Soldiers assigned to Army Reserve and Army National Guard units.

If Soldiers do not resume mandatory training when encouraged, Wilson said they will be processed for separation, and, if appropriate, required to reimburse the government any unearned portion of incentives they have been paid.

“The demands of the Global War on Terror have magnified our need to better reconcile RC unit rosters,” Wilson said. “It’s always been the intent to effectively manage RC Soldiers who are determined to be unsatisfactory participants, but the process can be administratively cumbersome and executed with varying degrees of rigor.”

A temporary exception to policy and streamlining notification procedures for Soldiers who are considered for separation, Wilson said, will help RC leaders and administrators initiate separation actions in a timely manner.

“The execution of this realignment will be done at the Reserve-component level, and will allow commanders and managers to begin from an unprecedented vantage point to better manage the force,” she said. “We are transforming the Army, while serving a nation at war, and this realignment is an integral part of that transformation

An estimated 15,000 reserve-component Soldiers are currently not participating in required weekend training, officials said. But they pointed out that as of March 2006, approximately 100,000 Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers were serving on active duty in support of the Global War on Terror.

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