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Navy offers limited enlisted early out opportunities

Navy uniform. (Dreamstime/TNS)
November 20, 2020

This article was originally published by the U.S. Navy.

The Navy will offer limited, voluntary early separations with an eye to allowing Sailors in certain specialties the ability to transition to civilian life before completing their service obligations.

Announced in NAVADMIN 307/20 on Nov. 19, the message says the early separations will be on a case-by-case basis, targeted to selected overmanned ratings and year groups as a way to help restore rating health and open up promotion opportunity for sailors seeking to stay Navy.

Other types of early outs will also be offered and will be considered on a case-by case basis.  Which program applies to a Sailor depends on where they are in their careers as well as the reason for separation.

“As the Navy has grown over recent years, some enlisted ratings at specific paygrades have become overmanned due to high retention in these ratings,” said John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s Chief of Personnel. “Fleet readiness is our number one priority while also allowing for a flexible marketplace of talent management.”

The largest source of early outs will likely come from the newly restored Early Enlisted Transition Program (EETP).  EETP opportunity will come in published quotas, identified by rating, paygrade, year group and navy enlisted classification.

These quotas are published on the Navy Personnel Command website and updated in real time as they are used.  As a result, quotas will be granted on a first come first serve basis until all are exhausted.  To find which skillsets may transition early, go to MyNavy Portal at, then click *Quick Links* and then the *NPC* tab. Once on the NPC website, navigate to the *Enlisted* dropdown, then select *Community Managers* and navigate down to the *EETP* link.

Those nearing the end of their careers should check out the Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) Article 1830-040, which lays out the rules for active duty service members desiring early transfer to the Fleet Reserve at 20 years of service.  The article was recently updated to authorize retirement-eligible Sailors with obligated service remaining on their enlisted contracts to transition out early.

There are no blanket policies, so each request is reviewed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the Navy’s manning requirements and individual rating health.  Each request is reviewed to make sure that sea and critical shore billets are not gapped.  Any such negative impacts will result in the request being disapproved.

Early separation is also available for Sailors facing forced rating conversion, provided they have less than a year left before their soft expiration of active obligated service (SEAOS).  Consideration for this type of early separation request must contain a statement of understanding from the Sailor that the Navy will recoup any unearned bonuses given for the service that won’t be completed.

Educational early outs will also be considered for Sailors hoping to get an early start at college.  These requests are submitted to the Enlisted Separation and Performance Division at Navy Personnel Command if the early transition is greater than 90-days before their SEAOS.  As always, Commanding Officers can approve education separation requests inside of 90 days of a service member’s SEAOS.

Those applying for a commissioning program or inter-Service transfer require what’s called a conditional release which can only be approved by Navy Personnel Command.  Sailors should send those requests to NPC via their commanding officer.

Regardless of which early out authority Sailors are requesting, commands need to carefully follow all guidance in the appropriate MILPERSMAN article.

In the message, Nowell reminded Sailors and commands that Fleet readiness is paramount.  Retaining
Sailors with the right skills and experience is instrumental to retaining the Navy’s warfighting
competitive edge.

“The Navy remains committed to ensuring Fleet readiness by providing well-trained Sailors in the right paygrade with the right skills and experience at the right time,” said VADM Nowell in the message.  “Ensuring proper rating health, by rebalancing rating paygrades, while retaining the necessary knowledge, skills and experience in the Fleet is instrumental to maintaining our warfighting advantage.”

Questions and concerns regarding these policy changes may be
referred to MyNavy Career Center at askmncc(at) or 1-833- 330-MNCC(6622).