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).
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.
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.
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.
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.