How Grade Determination Waivers Calculate PS Rank

Grade Determination Waivers

Prior Service (PS) applicants are Veterans of the U.S. Military who desire to serve again. The Recruiting force thoroughly scrutinizes PS applicants to determine their qualifications. Recruiters will review the DD Form 214; specifically the separation code, reentry code, the narrative reason for separation, last rank held and the date of separation. In certain cases, a Grade Determination Waiver will be required to process a PS applicant for enlistment into the U.S. Army.

Glossary Non Prior Service vs Prior Service?

Understanding your status is important and will have a major impact on your enlistment eligibility. A Soldier that spent three weeks at basic training before being discharged for Entry Level Performance and Conduct, is quite different than a Soldier who completed his initial enlistment.

It would be simple if there was one standard across the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, each of the services defines prior service differently.

For the Regular Army (RA), Army Reserve (USAR) and Army National Guard (ARNG) an applicant is considered to be PS if they meet the following:

  • Any applicant who has spent more than 180 days on Active Duty (AD)
  • Graduated from initial military training and has been awarded an MOS/AFSC/Rating, regardless of time-in-service

On the other hand, applicants with less than 180 days of service or those who failed to complete initial military training are classified as Glossary Non-Prior Service (GNPS). In most cases, they are processed the same as non-prior service applicants.

Note: This is a calculation of the total time served during Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training, Mobilizations, Deployments, and Annual Trainings. This information is also displayed on the DD Form 214, under block 12c (Net active service this period).

Prior Service Business Rules

Periodically the Human Resources Command will issue guidance to the United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) on current critical needs for PS accessions. In turn, USAREC will release a message to the recruiting force outlining the Prior Service Business Rules for enlistment into the RA and USAR or those transferring into the Army under the Blue-to-Green Program.

The most recent business rules were released in September of 2016 and here are the major highlights:

  • GNPS are not restricted to the rules
  • Reservations are required to be pulled by the Recruiting Operations Center
  • Applicants in the Grade of E5 and above are required to submit a Grade Determination Waiver
  • Applicants in the Grade of E4 and above can request an exception to policy if they hold one of the following MOS: 18B, 18C, 18D, 18E, 18F, 42R, 42S, 46Q and 46R
  • Vacancies for E1 – E4: 12Y, 13F, 13M, 13R, 15D, 15E, 15N, 15R, 15Y, 19D, 19K, 25Q, 25S, 31E, 35F, 35G, 35L, 35N, 35P, 68B, 68C, 68N, 68Y, 91A, 91H, 94F or 94T
  • Vacancies for E5: 15N, 27D, 35G, 35L, 35N, 35P, 68V, or 91A
  • Vacancies for E6 – E7: 35P


The Grade Determination Waiver

Grade Determinations are automatically triggered for anyone in the rank of E5 or above, regardless of component. The waiver will be submitted electronically to the USAREC Commanding General and a determination will be completed based on several criteria, as described in AR 601-210.

  • If current MOS structure supports reentry in former primary military occupational specialty (PMOS). If the applicant was last separated from any component in the grade of E–5 and above and enlists within 48 months following separation, or is a current member of an RC; the enlistment grade will be E–5.
  • If current MOS structure does not support reentry into former PMOS (E–5/E–6). If applicant was last separated from any component in the grade of E–5 or E–6 and enlists within 48 months following separation, or is a current member of an RC, the enlistment grade will be the current grade held; however, applicant must accept retraining in the MOS provided
  • Applicants in grade E–5 and above enlisting more than 48 months from the date of separation or MSO will be reduced based on business rules. Additionally, the applicant may be required to accept retraining in the MOS provided.

If you’re an E5 or above trying to reenlist into the RA be prepared to provide the following additional documents to support your request:

  • Applicant Statement – A clear and concise personal statement requesting to be retained at the current rank and complies with current business rules.
  • Prior Service Documents – Ensure all documents are legible.
    • DD Form 214 from all past periods of service
    • NGB 22 from ARNG
    • Discharge Orders
    • Conditional Release – DA Form 4187 / DA FM 368
    • REDD Report
    • Promotion Orders
    • 1059s from NCOES

About the Author MSG Washington

MSG Washington has served within the ranks of the United States Army since June of 2001. With ten years of recruiting experience, he is an expert on Recruiting Operations, who willingly assists applicants across the Country with their enlistment process.

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