Needs of the Army


Nov 2, 2016
Do the "Needs of the Army" include a possible assignment in the reserves or national guard, or do all USMA graduates go straight into active duty?
To my understanding, all USMA grads get Active Duty.

Did I read something recently about allowing USMA football players who are drafted into the NFL to go straight into the reserves? I know Navy changed their regs regarding this situation.
What he wrote. My memory may be wrong, but I thought I recalled a few times during heavy draw downs when some were given the option of going into the reserves. Don't count on it, however.
"Needs of the Army" will rarely result in an active duty commitment of less than five years, but it does happen - professional athletes, extreme hardship, and yes, times of steep draw-down. With the cost of putting a cadet through USMA, it is an exception to release a USMA grad early.

In the early 90's some USMA grads were able to resign from active duty up to a year early (that's the most I know of), but to my knowledge it was not widespread . Don't personally know of anyone getting out sooner than that due to draw-down, but in those days the Army was offering cash payments for officers to resign. The ones I knew personally were Captains/Majors past the initial commitment. Not sure how it affected other ranks or those prior to the end of commitment.
Nothing I have ever heard of for USMA cadets even those with professional athletic potential are nearly always told go active and then maybe given an early out. Also, many on this board only have experience with the last 7 years of drawdowns and competitive active duty for ROTC but that may be changing. The NDAA for FY 17 increases the end strength of the Army so the Army will be expanding active duty slots to 2LTs from ROTC in FY 17 and 18 and is stopping several drawdown mechanisms which were used over the last six years to reduce end strength (separation and retirement boards and retention control points for enlisted are being raised again). These remain very interesting times.
USMA graduates commission into the active duty force. The only exception is the medical professions scholarship program. Those officers immediately become reservists and then are accessed onto active duty upon completion of school.

As mentioned, the Army will likely be growing slightly. Not much, and we will still be about 20% smaller than we were 6 years ago, but the odds for a reserve career out of USMA are about 0%.