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Officer Commission Resignations in the IRR

The standard service obligation for American Army soldiers is eight years. Those choosing a shorter term of active service are actually still on the books in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). Upon reaching the eight year mark, enlisted soldiers are automatically dropped from the rolls unless a conscious choice is made to stay with the Army. Officers, on the other hand, remain in the IRR unless they physically resigned their commissions, reached retirement age or died. On 16 July 2005, the undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, David Chu, changed that policy so that officers were also automatically released from the IRR.

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The decision to make this policy stemmed largely because of problems the Army faced in recalling its officers. Many sought deferments or delayed their reporting leading the Army to begin declaring them AWOL. Many of the recalled officers did not even realize they were still in the IRR, believing their commitments had expired. Even then, there are cases such as CPT Jonathan O’Reilly who served an additional two years after the Army continued to deny his resignation.

For reference, the standards of the IRR are documented in Army Regulation 135-91 (pdf). Despite the alleged update to the policy regarding officers, the most recent edition of this document is dated 1 February 2005. Looking at Table 2-1 and Table 2-2, the verbiage describing the participation requirements between officers and enlisted soldiers both indicate "until 8th anniversary" of appointment or enlistment respectively. Section 5-2© of the regulation outlines that IRR discharges will be in accordance with the Enlisted Administrative Separations standards documented in Army Regulation 135-178 (pdf). There is no mention of officer discharge in this regulation.

This raises some questions:

  • Where is it documented that officers are not released from the IRR without an approved resignation of commission?
  • Did David Chu’s update really happen?
  • Should officers be held to a different standard of retention than enlisted soldiers?

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3 Votes  - +
AR 600-8-24 by VnutZ

It was pointed out to me that I should look at AR 600-8-24 Officer Transfers and Discharges. It was some 145 pages of mumbo jumbo within which the words "IRR" never appeared and "ready reserve" appeared once. Searching on the term "resign" actually produced quite a few results – but they pertained to resignations for retirement, pregnancy, in lieu of a court martial, etc. etc. None of the sections indicated there was an imperative to ACTIVELY resign in order to be released from the IRR.

I do believe Chu’s update is happening, I’m just at a loss to find it in writing. The recent surge in Captain (03) retention bonuses being offered right now leads me to believe that the Army is letting those that want out out, and trying to keep those officers willing to stay extra incentives. I can tell you from personal experience, I currently am serving as a junior officer in a aviation attack battalion serving in Iraq, that the army has been misusing and abusing the IRR system in recent years. Our battalion called up 5 captains from IRR, 2 who’s resignations had been denied, to fill slots on an MTOE that was bloated for our mission. Now, 8 months into the deployement, only 1 one of these officers even has a "real" job, the rest just kind of float around day to day. I feel awful for these officers, they served for 6 years on active duty, then were uprooted from their new civilan lives for no reason. We could have easily filled these slots with guard or reserve officers, or even reevaluated our MTOE and not filled them at all. I hear the same story across other units, they called up numerous IRR fills and now have too many people with no jobs. My opinon is no, officers should not be held to a different standard of retention, we should be offered the same incentives as enlisted soldiers if the Army wants us to keep us longer. I would not want an officer in charge of me who didn’t want to be there.

2 Votes  - +
Tough to tell by Paulick

When I was still in the Army I was stationed at FT. Jackson, and while there either 500 or 600 Soldiers from the IRR were called up and trained at some NG site right outside of FT. Jackson. I remember there being a lot of contraversy (sp) over a couple of Officers that were called back to active duty. They were older like in their 60’s and 50’s. I was told about the resignation then for the first time. An old GS employee (former CPT) told me about having to resign your commission.He served in the 80’s. I went to the Middle East with a number of IRR Soldiers. SOme of whom were well past their 8 year commitment. I recently had breakfast with a Retention/Recruiter for the Army reserves. I asked point blank about wether I needed to resign my commision or not. He could not even give me a straight answer.

I know this doesn’t answer any questions, but it should let you know that being released from the IRR is difficult and there are lots of ways for the Army to try to keep you in. If anyone finds the answer please let me know. Good luck my fellow on the journey towards the truth.

Hey, all these questions are discussed and answered over at the Command T.O.C. We are a site dedicated to the IRR recall and if you filter on IRR information you will find hundreds of comments from IRR recalled officers who have experienced this recall.

Just for your reference, despite no evidence that actually requires one to do so, this is HRC’s sample document on how to resign your commission. I’m amused that despite the fact that contractual obligations have been fulfilled, HRC’s instructions and sample still show an approval … unless that is some vestige of allowing early resignations.

Sample Resignation Letter

The best thing to do is just fade away. I know of a few people who showed up for there IRR "reactivation" it turns out the troops who don’t show up are not hunted like dogs, chased by MPs with night sticks. The fishermen just castout a bigger net. Now you can join the Warrior Reserves which take volunteers into IRR.

2 Votes  - +
IRR Muster by jmarkdavison

Anybody else get an "IRR muster" notice in the mail recently? It says in bold letters you will not be mobilized, this is not a mobilization notice, etc, but I’m sure it gets you one step closer.
Basically you have to waste a day of your life, take off from work, and drive an hour to fill out some paperwork. Mine is end of July; I’ll let you know how it goes.

If I did not resign my commission in, say 1970, then I apparently could have been called up at any time. Since I have been on-call since 1970, does that mean the Army owes me some sort of back pay, and retirement?

2 Votes  - +
IRR Process by Anonymous

Does anyone know the process for resigining your commission upon the "8-year anniversary?" Do you have to submit the letter in the window of 1-year to 6 months upon completion of your MSO? Additionally, how the heck do you find your Carreer Management Officer as an IRR officer according to the statement on AKO I found below:

• If you are IRR or IMA officer, send the resignation letter to your Career Management Officer (CMO).

I hope this helps everyone. Thanks.

Great blog. It nice to see there are other people out there confused by what it takes to get out of the Army as an officer. I am in the National Guard with one year left on my MSO. I was wondering if any of you know what the process is for getting out of the guard and resigning my commision? For civilian job reasons I am considering transfering states, however I am trying to find out more information about going into the IRR. More specifically, what is the likely hood I would get called up in the IRR with one year left as an engineer officer. It’s not so great to be building your civilian career, and family all the while with a big gorilla in the room. Any info would be great.

Ladies & Gents,

Here is a compilation of information I have dug up.

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/html/123513.htm

Will allow you to download DoD Directive 1235.13, "Management of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) and the Inactive National Guard (ING)", June 16, 2005

I just received approval for my active duty unqualified resignation and have until JUN 09 for my 8 year MSO to be complete. I plan on submitting my resignation from the IRR as soon as I get my orders to leave active duty.

https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/Reserve/soldierservices/guidance/resignation.htm

Resigning your Commission
To resign your commission, you must meet the criteria of AR 135-91, table 2-1. In general, you cannot resign your commission until you have completed eight years as a commissioned officer. All officers need to complete the resignation letter and send to the appropriate command
.
If you are IRR or IMA officer, send the resignation letter to your Career Management Officer (CMO).

If you have any questions, contact your PMO.

U.S. Army Human Resources Command
Attn: Enter Office Symbol
1 Reserve Way
St. Louis, Missouri
63132-5200

Personnel Actions & Services Directorate
AHRC-PA – Col 4-R7

Transitions & Separations Branch
AHRC-PAP-T
Ch, Mr. S. Welch, Extension 0553
Separations (PAP-TS), Extension 0572

DSN: 892-0000 + 4 Digit Extension
Long Distance: 314-592-0000 + 4 Digit Extension

AR 135-175

6–3. Procedures
a. Resignations will be prepared in accordance with the appropriate format prescribed in figures 1 through 6–5 and will include the following information:
(1) Officer’s present assignment and attachment, if any.
(2) Reason(s) for submission of resignation.
(3) Documentary evidence, when appropriate, to substantiate given reason(s) for submission of resignation.
b. Resignations will be submitted through appropriate military channels to the commander authorized to take final action thereon. In those instances where final action is restricted to Headquarters, Department of the Army, the resignation will be forwarded by the appropriate commander together with remarks and recommendations PAP–SS.
c. Obligated officers who have not performed their required period of active duty or ADT. An obligated officer who has not performed his required period of active duty or ADT (para 1–4d) may submit a conditional resignation; however, it will be accepted only under very exceptional circumstances involving national health, safety, or interest.

Section III
Unqualified Resignations
6–8. General
This section provides for means and procedures governing the submission of unqualified resignations as Reserve officers of the Army and the conditions under which such resignations may be accepted.
6–9. Authority to take final action
a. Headquarters, Department of the Army reserves the authority to take final action on unqualified resignation submitted by obligated officers, except as otherwise provided in b(2) and (3) below. All such resignations will be forwarded as set forth in paragraph 6–3.
b. Authority to take final action on unqualified resignations submitted by officers specified below is delegated to the appropriate area commander and the Cdr, ARPERCEN.
(1) A nonobligated officer.

6–10. Criteria for unqualified resignations
The following circumstances provide the basis and will be used as a guide in determining final action on unqualified resignations.
a. Obligated Officers. Normally, an obligated officer will not be permitted to resign his office until such time as the obligated period of service is completed, except as otherwise provided below.
b. Nonobligated officers. Resignations submitted by nonobligated officers may be accepted, except under the conditions outlined below:
(1) The officer is under investigation or charges, being considered for administrative involuntary separation, in the hands of civil authorities, insane, or in default with respect to public property or public funds.
AR 135–175 • 28 February 1987 23
(2) In time of war or national emergency declared by Congress.
(3) When HQDA, by separate instructions, restricts the acceptance of such resignations due to national emergency proclaimed by the President or under other conditions which may necessitate such action (i.e., peacetime expansion of the Active Army).
6–11. Procedures
a. Resignations will be submitted in accordance with the format in figure 6–2.
c. Confirmation of acceptance of resignation will be announced in accordance with the orders format prescribed in AR 310–10.

My husband was commissioned in 2000, and when his 8 years were complete last year, the Army sent him a letter asking what he wanted to do. One of the choices was to resign his commission. He filled that out and about 1-2 months later he received his honorable discharge, no other action (including the resignation letter) required from him. So it would appear Chu’s policy is in effect. However, I was commissioned in 2001, and am almost 2 months past my service obligation. I have yet to receive my letter and am now wondering if something has changed in the procedures. I plan on sending in a resignation just in case I don’t get a letter the same way he did.

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