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Navy Reenlistment Incentives

(Note: The below article is from the Aug 97 edition of Navy "All Hands" Magazine.


Why does a person reenlist in the Navy? Chances are, if you asked 10 career Navy people this question you'd get 10 different answers. You'd get similar results if you asked 10 civilians why they stay with a particular company for a career.

Many incentives, tangible and intangible,attract a person to a particular career. The job is important. It's enjoyable because it's in tune with the person's interests and abilities, and a comparable job may not be available elsewhere. The opportunities for advancement may be good. Perhaps the person can get more education, and subsequently a better job, through the organization.

Then there are other considerations: paid vacation, travel, family protection plans, retirement and many other factors that enter into a person's decision and create yet another very important ingredient — loyalty.

In most cases, a person chooses a career on the basis of a combination of these factors.

So it is in the Navy. A decision to reenlist in the military is a personal choice. The following information reviews the long-term incentives for making the Navy a career. Special emphasis is given to reenlistment incentives.

GUARD III Guaranteed assignment

The Navy can guarantee you an assignment of your choice as a reenlistment incentive under the guaranteed assignment retention detailing (GUARD) program. Through this program you can have your orders in your left hand before you raise your right hand to reenlist.

The GUARD III program offers you two guaranteed assignments, the first of which must be used at your first reenlistment. The second can be used at any reenlistment before your 25th year of service.

The Navy defines a guaranteed assignment as either a specific ship type or home port for sea duty or a specific geographical area for shore duty. Coast to coast transfers are not guaranteed.

To be eligible for GUARD III you must:

  • Be an E-4 though E-9 with less than 25 years active service, or a designated E-3 who has passed an E-4 exam and is currently eligible for advancement, and you must be approved for reenlistment through the Enlisted Navy Career Options for Reenlistment program (ENCORE) (if you are a first-term reenlistee);
  • Be within six months of expiration of active obligated service (EAOS), except as noted below;
  • Be willing to reenlist for four or more years;
  • Have no courts-martial or civil convictions within 18 months of EAOS;
  • Have no permanent change of station orders being processed for transfer to the Fleet Reserve, or have an effective Fleet Reserve transfer date;
  • Have a consistent record of above average performance; and
  • Be recommended for reenlistment.

All assignments must have valid requirements and must be in accordance with the priorities established by the manning control authorities.

Assignments are intended to be made for transfer when EAOS and projected rotation date (PRD) coincide prior to an extension becoming operative. Personnel reenlisting for a GUARD III incentive prior to a signed extension becoming operative, or prior to established PRD, must have completed two years at their present command or a DOD-area tour.

Selective training and reenlistment (STAR)

Education and advancement in your present rating may be more important to you than a guaranteed duty assignment. In that case you can hitch up to a STAR, the Navy's selective training and reenlistment program. For a four-to-six-year reenlistment, the STAR program guarantees:
  • Assignment to an appropriate "A" or "C" school, or "C" school package (different schools training students for a specific skill);
  • Automatic advancement to petty officer 2nd class (PO2) upon completion of a class "C" school, or "C" school package, listed on the effective Career School Listing on the date of reenlistment if otherwise eligible;
  • Selective reenlistment bonus, if eligible.

To qualify for STAR you must:

  • Be in a critical NEC or any rating in career reenlistment objective (CREO) groups 1 or 2;
  • Be a first-term PO2, PO3 or designated striker;
  • Have at least 21 months but not more than six years continuous active naval service and not more than eight years active service for other service veterans;
  • Meet the minimum test score requirements for the class "A" school;
  • Be recommended by your commanding officer for career designation and meet considerably higher than minimum standards for reenlistment;
  • Have no record of conviction by court-martial or non-judicial punishment during the 18 months preceding date of application; and
  • Not have derived any benefits from the Selective Conversion and Reenlistment (SCORE) program and have completed obligated service for other programs.

OPNAVINST 1160.5 (Reenlistment Quality Control) prohibits reenlistment of personnel, E-4 and below, beyond 10 years of active naval service, and E-5 personnel beyond 20 years of active military service. Personnel should contact their command career counselor to ensure eligibility for STAR reenlistment incentives.

Selective Conversion and Reenlistment (SCORE)

Occasionally Navy people feel "stuck" in their jobs -- positions that may not be in line with their interests.

The Navy wants its people to serve in the rating in which they have an interest and aptitude. To achieve this, the Navy has tailored the SCORE program for Navy people wishing to change to fields offering them greater career potential.

A four-, five- or six-year obligation under the SCORE program offers these incentives to members reenlisting for conversion to critically undermanned rates:

  • Guaranteed assignment to class "A" school with automatic conversion of rating upon satisfactory completion of that school or direct conversion if switching to a similar skill;
  • Possible advancement to PO2 upon completion of the "C" school or "C" school package, if these appear on the current Career School List on the date of reenlistment.
  • Guaranteed assignment to an appropriate class "C" school or "C" school package, if available; and SRB, if otherwise eligible.

To qualify for the SCORE program you must:

  • Be in any rating in CREO group 3;
  • Be a PO1, PO2, PO3 or identified striker;
  • Meet minimum test scores for entry into appropriate class "A" school;
  • Be within 12 months of EAOS, as extended;
  • Have at least 21 months continuous active naval service, but not more than 15 years total naval service;
  • Have demonstrated a potential for rate conversion, show sustained superior performance and be recommended by your commanding officer;
  • Have no non-judicial punishment and no record of convictions in the current enlistment or within 48 months preceding date of application; and
  • Obtain prior BUPERS approval.

The OPNAVINST 1160.5 series prohibits reenlistment of personnel, E-4 and below, beyond 10 years of active naval service, and E-5 personnel beyond 20 years of active military service. Personnel should contact their command career counselor to ensure eligibility for SCORE reenlistment incentives.

Assignment to school as a reenlistment incentive

Have you found that you don't qualify for any of the programs listed above because of pay grade, time-in-service, etc.? Well, don't give up. Assignment to school may be just the program for you. If you are recommended for reenlistment, you are eligible for this program.

The purpose of the program is to provide an incentive for reenlistments of four or more years by guaranteeing, under certain conditions, assignments to a specific school.

To qualify you must:

  • Meet the entrance requirements of the desired school;
  • Be able to use the skill immediately;
  • Be able to use the new skill in conjunction with skills already obtained;
  • Be in the pay grade for which use of the desired skill is intended;
  • Have a consistent record of average or better performance; and
  • Be within 12 months of your EAOS.

Requests should be submitted four to six months before the desired reenlistment date. Assignments to school will normally occur at member's PRD.

School assignments on a temporary additional duty, under instruction basis, as approved by appropriate type commanders when feasible, may occur at any time within the member's activity tour that is agreeable to the member's commanding officer.

Selective reenlistment bonus (SRB)

Members serving in certain critical ratings or NECs may be entitled to an SRB for reenlisting or extending their enlistments for a minimum of three years. SRBs can be as much as $20,000 ($30,000 for designated skills).

SRBs are used to increase the number of reenlistments in ratings and NECs having insufficient retention. SRB award levels are reviewed at least every six months and may be increased or reduced.

There will be some ratings/NECs eliminated and new ones added at each review. Changes to the list of SRB-eligible ratings/NECs and respective award levels are announced by NAVADMIN message which is normally released 30 days prior to the effective date of the change.

To be eligible for an SRB you must:

  • Have completed at least 21 continuous months (excluding active-duty training) but not more than 14 years of active naval service;
  • Be eligible to reenlist or extend for three or more years in the regular Navy;
  • Be a petty officer or designated striker;
  • Be qualified for, and serving in an SRB rating/NEC or be approved for conversion to an SRB-eligible rating NEC; and
  • Receive authorization from BUPERS before reenlisting or extending for SRB.

There are three SRB zones: A, B and C. You may receive only one Zone A, one Zone B and one Zone C bonus during a career. The zone that an eligible member is entitled to is determined by total active service:

- Zone A. You must have completed at least 21 continuous months (excluding active-duty training) but not more than six years (including active-duty training plus all prior active duty in any service) total active military service on the date of reenlistment or operative date of qualifying extension, and the reenlistment or extension plus the prior active service must equal at least six years of total active service.

- Zone B. You must have completed at least six years but not more than 10 years (including active-duty training plus all prior active duty in any service total active military service) on the date of reenlistment or operative date of qualifying extension, and the reenlistment or extension plus the prior active service must equal at least 10 years of total active service.

- Zone C. You must have completed at least 10 years but no more than 14 years (including active-duty training plus all prior active duty in any service) total active military service on the date of reenlistment or operative date of qualifying extension, and the reenlistment or extension plus the prior active service must equal at least 14 years of total active service.

Career information

All of the programs covered here deal with specific reenlistment incentives.

The Navy also offers a variety of career alternatives that do not require you to reenlist. Your command retention team is the primary source for accurate, up-to-date information about career policies and programs.

Team members can provide career information and facts about education programs and veterans benefits. Talk about your future plans with members of your command's retention team. They can provide you valuable advice and inform you of alternatives you may not have considered.

If you decide to reenlist, your career counselor will make the arrangements. But whatever you decide, the choice is yours.
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