Marines looking to exit the Selected Marine Corps Reserve will be able to leave the service up to a year early — starting now.
Currently, Marines in the Selected Reserve are only permitted early releases up to 90 days ahead of a scheduled mandatory drill stop date. But the program was expanded for fiscal 2014as a cost-saving measure against the backdrop of already austere budgets and the threat of further cuts under sequestration.
“The FY 14 SMCR Early Release Program will enable continued force shaping and sustainment within the constraints of the approved budget,” according to Marine administrative message 452/13, signed Sept. 10. “The program remains focused on cost savings for the Marine Corps and is not an individual entitlement program.”
As long as a request doesn’t negatively affect unit readiness and mission success, commanders are encouraged to approve all requests as quickly as possible to maximize savings on manpower costs. They must provide justification for early release denials.
Eligible Marines must be first-term enlisted and have a mandatory drill stop date between Aug. 16, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014. Those who have received enlistment bonuses will not have to repay them, but Marines in receipt of any other financial incentive are not eligible for early release.
Marines are ineligible if they are approved for early release under another program; previously served in the active component; are mobilized or on active duty; have a pending medical or administrative separation; have an unexcused absence within the past 12 months; or are in units set for deactivation under the Force Structure Review Group and would be considered for involuntary transfer into the Individual Ready Reserve.
Those approved for early release are still obligated to serve in the IRR.