How to Branch Transfer in the ARNG or USAR

So, you have been Commissioned and chosen a branch you wish to serve in.  Wait, you are realizing that maybe this wasn’t the branch for you? You want to earn another branch to open up some new opportunities?  You realized that Armor is the best branch in the Army and you want to earn your spurs?  Well then, you are going to have to execute a Branch Transfer.  A branch transfer permanently changes your branch, component or department within the DOD.  Branch transfers generally affect the ranks for 2LT through CPT, but sometimes MAJ will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Here are the steps on How to Branch Transfer in the ARNG or USAR:

Step #1: Develop a Clear Reason for Executing a Branch Transfer: A Branch Transfer will be forwarded and seen by the first COL in your Chain-on-Command, so it behooves you to develop a good, solid explanation on why you want to change branches.

Step #2: Put Together Your Packet: This packet consists of:

  • Officer Record Brief (ORB): DA 2-1
  • Your Last 5 OERs
  • All DD 412s
  • All DA Form 1059s.
  • Any and all documentation that would show experience related to the branch you wish to transfer

Step #3: Do Some Research: Some branches require a hand-full of prerequisite schools that you must attend to be qualified.  In the Armor Branch, for example, you would have to attend the Army Reconnaissance Course (ARC)  to even be considered for branch transfer.  There may be a ton of other requirements that the branch requires, so do your due diligence, research and satisfy all requirements.

Step #4: Submit and Await Board Approval: All requests are reviewed by a board process and approved or denied based on your experience and supporting documentation.  Approval may be outright or contingent upon the completion of specified schools.  Disapproval may come as a result of a weak support packet or openings/manning within that branch.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Please research each branch and your specific SOP for Branch Transfers.  What is provided in this article is the general procedure that most branches and units follow to execute a branch transfer.  Your specific state or unit may have a different procedure in place.  The important thing to remember here is to always maintain your records and keep them up to date, as you never know when you will need to use them!

On a side note, if you have experience with a branch transfer in the ARNG or USAR, please share your thoughts to tell us what you did and how it worked out for you.

We wish you the best in your career.


chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “How to Branch Transfer in the ARNG or USAR”

  1. Great post here! Transferring branches can be tough to do, depending upon your state and senior leadership. Once you know what needs to be done, you need to sit down and have a heart to heart conversation with your boss so you are both on the same sheet of paper.

  2. Justin,

    This is a very interesting post on how to branch transfer in the ARNG or USAR. I’ve never transferred branches, but I did attend the OD Advanced Course even though I was a QM Officer. And then I got the 90A and official Logistics Branch designation after that. Those processes were pretty simple though, so it would be neat to hear from someone who did a traditional branch transfer.

    And I thought it was funny in your post how you mentioned your Armor branch and the spurs. That made me laugh. Good promotion for the Armor Officer Corps though.


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