ADOS and ADSW Program for Army National Guard Soldiers

If you are currently serving in the Army National Guard or Army Reserves, you should consider the ADSW Program.  This stands for Active Duty Special Work.  In the past, it has also been referred to as ADOS, which is Active Duty Operational Support.  In either case, this program is reserved for traditional, one weekend a month soldiers who want to serve on temporary Active Duty, normally within their unit.  There are also assignments at the National Guard Bureau and other major commands.

About the ADSW Program

The ADSW Program is designed to fill staffing shortages on a temporary basis.  In most cases, these are temporary jobs for temporary projects.  From what I’ve seen, most soldiers serve on ADSW on a temporary basis (one year or less).  However, I have met a few folks who were on ADSW Orders for more than 10+ years straight.  It really depends upon the position, who you know, and your job performance.

I personally spent about 18 months in the ADSW Program.  I enjoyed the experience working several different jobs.  What I liked most about the program is that I had the same benefits as the AGR folks but I wasn’t locked into a duty position or long-term contract.  And when it came to promotion time, I wasn’t limited to the controlled grade positions each state has to deal with (for AGR folks in ARNG).

ADSW Orders

When you enter the ADSW Program, you get ADSW Orders.  In most cases, the orders are one month to twelve months depending upon the job position, time of year, and available budget.  I’ve never personally seen orders for more than 12 consecutive months.  I’ve been told that ADSW Orders only go out 12 months and are renewed each year if the funds are available.

In order to receive your ADSW Orders, you must get counseled by your parent unit and your boss.  Your new position can’t interfere with your one weekend a month position.  In addition, you must meet the current height/weight and APFT.  There is a formal packet to fill out.  Once the packet is complete, you can normally get a copy of your ADSW Orders from your parent unit.

army ados and adswADSW Opportunities

Depending upon the available budget, the training cycle, and positions available, there are normally lots of different ADSW Opportunities.  Speaking from personal experience, I’ve found that most of these positions are typically reserved for higher echelon staff and units.  Normally the positions are for Senior NCOs and Officers.  I’m not saying lower ranking can’t get an ADSW Job at the unit level; it just isn’t all that common.  When I had ADSW Orders, I normally worked at the G-Staff level or at the state level (ARNG).  Once again, that is just my experience.  However, during my time in Company Command we sometimes had positions at the unit level for E-5 and below soldiers.

The best thing you can to learn more about the different ADSW Opportunities is to sit down with your Unit Readiness NCO or S1.  You can also visit the GKO website, the NGB website, or your state’s website.  In most cases, the positions are posted on those websites.

ADSW Pay

When you participate in the ADSW Program, the ADSW Pay is the same as your Active Duty counterpart.  In most cases, if your orders are longer than 30 days you are also entitled to receive your Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) and food allowance (BAS).  You can refer to an Active Duty pay chart to calculate your exact pay or you can visit the DFAS or MYPAY website to learn more.

Final Thoughts

The ADSW or ADOS Program is an exciting program for the traditional one weekend a month soldiers.  If you are looking to serve on Active Duty on a temporary basis I can’t think of a better program out there.  You get the same benefits as an AGR or Active Duty Soldier.  In most cases, the position lasts 12 months or less, but in some rare cases, you might be able to stay in the program for 3, 5 or even 10 years.  Just contact your local Readiness NCO or S1 to learn more about the program and see if there are any ADSW Opportunities in your state.

On a side note, if you’ve ever served in the ADOS or ADSW Program, please share your experiences with the rest of our community by leaving a comment to this post. If you have any questions that have not been answered here, you can post them too, and I will attempt to answer them. Thank you for visiting.

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37 thoughts on “ADOS and ADSW Program for Army National Guard Soldiers”

  1. Thank Y’all for your service, I served 13 years 02-15 and served as much time as I could on ADSW orders. It was the best of both worlds, Military and Civilian. You often met and hung-out with people you otherwise wouldn’t. ADSW usually meant something needed to be done, so when you put a bunch of Soldiers from different MOS’s and backgrounds you have a plethora of knowledge base to add to the mission at hand. There was always an SME, or a Soldier who knew who to call.

    I’m currently trying to prove my 100% eligibility to the VA for the CH33 GI Bill, and was wondering if anyone knew how to collect the orders I served ADSW under, as the VA now accepts ADOS, ADSW and ADT time towards eligibility.

  2. Once you are on ADOS orders, how easy it is to get off of ADOS orders? Are you obligated to stay to the end of your orders, or can you elect to leave at any time?

  3. What is the requirement for being given days off? I do military funeral honors and only get given 1 day off in a week…plus drill since I’m local. Which gives me a total of 3 non working days in a month without taking leave. Is this right or should I be given more days off?

  4. Sir,

    What is the difference between Title 32 ADOS/ADSW and Title 32 FTNG. I’ve been on the later for the past 3 years and just learned that unlike ADOS/ADSW orders, FTNG orders do not count towards Post 911 eligibility. I’m a bit confused because my days and dollars came were funded by NGB for Mission Support .

    DOUG

  5. I am curretly a mil-tech and was approached by a CW4 to go on ADOS-AC orders… Now the part where my federal job on civilian job has confused me with is that they can stop me from going on orders or could potentially loose my job? Do you know anything regarding mil-tech and this situation at all? It's almost as if they don't want to do the paperwork for me leaving and coming back

  6. hey sir, first off, thank you for your service! I'm currently on ADSW orders with the recruiting "diversity team" to recruit more minority and to reach out to local communities. However, I still help with regular functions as far as retention,admin, IT support (i'm a commo guy as an M-Day soilder), and setting up displays like a climbing wall, obstical course, as well as helping as cadre with the RSP program here in Oregon. I love my job! However based on my performance thus far the command wants to put me on ADSW again for next fiscal year or try to get me on an AGR slot. So this is a great way to add points for retirement (6 years active duty and 2 good years in the guard thus far) and other tradional active duty benefits so I strongly suggest to not pass up this oppertunity!

    SGT Jimmy Le
    Oregon National Guard

  7. Wow!!! Great Information @Chuck!! You have given very informative post..This is absolutely worth to share..the things you covered through post are impressive and helpful..Thanks for sharing it!!

  8. Yes I would like to be considered with a training group at 1st Army East DIV at Ft Jackson or Fort Gordon and Ft Stewart, I a 25W40 – E-7

    1. As said in the post Stanley, you should meet with your Unit Readiness NCO, and also check the various websites that list the jobs available. We wish you the best, and hope you can get a position.

      1. However, once your orders have expired, you should be able to get your job back. You are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) The Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act of 2003.

    1. that’s correct because to get the post 9/11 GI bill you have to had served in a combat zone for more then 30 days.

  9. My UA just put out email that an agency is asking for an 11 month “OP-ADOS” tour. I’m assuming he meant CO-ADOS but will clarify later. If you are ADOS and you are serving at location away from your home station you should still get military housing(or per-diem if unavailable) in addition to BAH correct? Although now I am reading his email and it says ” This is a PCS tour, so all locations are eligible.”

  10. While on ADSW orders to you have to go to drill? Can some one send me the regulation reference on this please?

    1. Don’t know the regulation right off the top of my head, but I know for a fact you have to go to drill weekend every month, just like the AGR do. When you sign your contract to go ADSW, part of the contract says that your responsibilities to your one weekend a month unit take priority over ADSW responsibilities. And if your ADSW interferes with your one weekend a month responsibilities, you can be removed from the ADSW Program. Just food for thought.

      Chuck

    2. That is actually up to your command.It depends on where the ADSW position is at and what the requirements are. You can get out of state ADSW tours in which case you would most likely not have to go to your unit drills. It’s all a points thing for a good year and how much your chain of command is willing to work with you on it. I did ADSW for 13 months as a E4 and I attended almost all of my drills because I was still local even though I was ADSW at a different unit than my parent unit.
      Bottom line is that it ultimately is up to your command and what your orders tell you. Best of luck

  11. The ADSW program does sound like an excellent opportunity. I know it as ADOS, but I guess the acronyms are always changing!

    Anyway, I know someone who’s looking for an ADSW job and I think this is a great post for him to read. I’m sure he’ll be meeting with his Unit Readiness NCO pretty soon, and we’ll see what happens after that!

    1. The ADSW program is a great opportunity, Andrew.

      For someone who cannot find a job, or someone who wants temporary work, it’s one of the best deals around.

  12. This appears to be a wonderful option for those who may be struggling otherwise as well. Providing both stability and experience you may not otherwise receive is a benefit not easily overlooked. As an active soldier full time, I always found it interesting to see the perspective of the AGR soldiers I worked with however briefly, and to see how their views differed from those I heard every day.

    1. The ADOS program is a great way to get experience, especially for someone who has never been on Active Duty before. I spent a lot of time on ADOS and learned a lot of helpful things that helped me advance my career. Plus, the pay and benefits were great.
      Chuck

  13. I spent a few months on ADSW orders as an E-4. The position was technically recruiting support, and I did do a good bit of work with the recruiter, but I also did some tasks for the unit like assisting with the preparations for the Army Communities of Excellence inspection. It’s a great way to get to know people outside your home unit that you might not meet very often otherwise. For years Louisiana had ADSW positions to assist with drug interdiction, and for a long time the funding was reliably renewed every year, but after 9/11 those faded away in the face of other priorities.

    1. ADOS is a great program. I spent a couple years on ADOS during my time in ARNG. I learned a lot in those assignments and networked with the full time AGR Staff. If you are good at what you do, you can easily get ADOS assignments. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn new skills, and advance your career.

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