Soldiers who were considered by fiscal [year] 2013 Sergeant First Class and Sergeant Major/Command Sergeant Major boards and who could be involuntarily separated from active duty through the Qualitative Service Program, or QSP; need to transfer their Post 9/11-GI Bill education benefits to their dependents (if desired) prior to Jan. 31. If a Soldier is QSPd when the official list comes out Jan. 31, by law there is no way they will later be able to transfer these benefits to an eligible dependent.
The aforementioned boards convened in October and November 2012.
“The first series of QSP boards will identify approximately 4,000 noncommissioned officers, or NCOs, for separation by the end of FY 2013. The majority of the NCOs will be retirement eligible and retain all benefits earned. This will represent about 3.5 percent of the Army’s inventory of staff sergeant through sergeant major or command sergeant major. Eligible NCOs that are not retirement eligible will be afforded the opportunity to volunteer to reclassify into a shortage MOS [Military Occupational Specialty],” stated Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Daigle, Fort Huachuca garrison command sergeant major.
The QSP was enacted last year to identify NCOs for involuntary early separation from active duty. The QSP consists of a series of centralized enlisted selection board processes designed to support the Army Leader Development Strategy and to retain the highest quality NCOs who display the greatest potential for continued service while satisfying mandated force structure requirements.
“Today we have a combat-tested force after 11 ½ years of continued combat operations. It is imperative for the Army to move forward and retain our best leaders. QSP is used for certain over-strength Military Occupational Specialties or promotion stagnant MOSs where the Army’s 12-month operating strength projection exceeds its goals,” explained Daigle.
The Post 9/11-GI Bill transferability of education benefits is not an entitlement for active duty Soldiers. By law, the purpose of the program is to enhance both recruiting and retention in the service.
Eligible Soldiers who wish to transfer their education benefits to an eligible dependent must agree to an associated additional service obligation. Effective in August, that obligation is four additional years of service.
“Soldiers want this done at least four years before their 20 [when they are eligible for retirement] so that they’re not going to have to incur more time. … It’s a retention vehicle for all the Department of Defense,” explained Sharon Lewis, chief, Fort Huachuca Education Services Division.
Eligible dependents are spouses and dependent children who are enrolled in Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and eligible for benefits under DEERS on the date the request to transfer is submitted. Dependents of dual military couples have to be sponsored by one Soldier, but must be registered under both Soldiers.
Soldiers selected for involuntary separation by the QSP board process who have transferred education benefits prior to Jan. 31 will have the associated obligation service set aside.
“This is important to Soldiers because they must be knowledgeable of how the Army is reshaping in the drawdown. All Soldiers must be aware that they must be disciplined and adhere to standards in order to progress through the ranks. Soldiers must be knowledgeable on the programs they qualify for and what benefits they are eligible for. In this circumstance NCOs must know that if they are eligible for QSP then they must make a decision on their Post 9/11-GI Bill benefits no later than January 31,” Daigle added.
Soldiers are encouraged to visit the transfer of education benefits website, https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect, to submit their transfer request. Regular Army Soldiers should also contact their servicing career counselor or installation/post retention office if they have questions. The Fort Huachuca education center is available to assist these Soldiers. Call 533.3010/2255.