Army offers early retirement in effort to reduce force size

Wednesday - 10/17/2012, 6:48pm EDT

Active-duty and reserve soldiers with between 15 and 20 years of service could be eligible for early retirement, the Army announced this week.

The service is offering temporary early retirement authority (TERA) to military officers who have not been selected to move on to the next grade as well as noncommissioned officers identified by selection boards for involuntary separation.

Soldiers who take the offer and are approved by the Army will receive retirement benefits "at a slightly reduced annuity," said Gerald Purcell, Army's enlisted personnel policy integrator, in a release.

Purcell said the early-retirement offers are part of an effort to reduce the active force from about 570,000 soldiers to 490,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2017.

The offers benefit the Army, by allowing it to shed personnel with occupational specialties or in pay grades deemed "excess to the Army's needs," as determined by qualitative selection boards, Purcell said.

However, Purcell said the retirement offers are also a good deal for those soldiers who otherwise would have been targeted for involuntary separation, which provides less in benefits than the TERA offers.

"Our goal to do this in a compassionate, caring way and ensure soldiers and their families are taken care of during the transition," Purcell said in the release.

After being identified for involuntary separation, soldiers will have about a year to opt for the TERA offer.

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