How to Rejoin the Army National Guard After You’ve Resigned Your Commission

If you’ve already resigned your commission completely and are no longer serving in the IRR, USAR or ARNG, you can come back into the ARNG.  The process isn’t simple or fast, but it can be done.  There are a few steps you need to do.  I will share these steps in more detail below.

Step # 1 Pick Your State

The first thing you need to do is decide which state you want to partner up with.  It might be your previous state that you served with, or if you are moving (or have moved) it might be a different state.

Step # 2 Contact the Officer Strength Manager

The next step is to contact the Officer Strength Manager for that state.  For instance, if you are trying to join the Idaho Army National Guard, you would do an internet search for “Idaho Army National Guard Officer Strength Manager.”  If that search doesn’t produce the results you desire, simply contact the state’s G1 Office and they can put you in touch with the Officer Strength Manager.

Step # 3 Complete the Data Sheet and JPAS Release

Your next step is to complete the data sheet they send you and fill out the JPAS Release.  This will allow the Officer Strength Manager to check to see if you still have a current security clearance.  If your security clearance is expired, you will have to get a new security clearance before you move forward in the process.  This can add 3-6 months to the process; sometimes longer.

Step # 4 Complete the Field Grade Board Checklist or Officer Checklist

In most cases, you will need to provide the documents on the checklist.  These documents might include: military bio, DD214, last 3 OERs, DA Photo, awards, 2LT Appointment Letter, Last Promotion Order (FED REC) military education and 2-1.  Once the OSM receives this information, your packet will go before the board.  Most states hold a board once a month.

Step # 5 Go Before the Board

In most cases, your packet will go before the board for the initial review.  In some cases, you might need to appear before a board before you can re-enter the ARNG.  Some states might have two or more different boards.

Step # 6 Get Assigned to a Unit

Once this process is get complete, you will be assigned to a unit based upon the state’s needs.

Final Thoughts

Please know that this process can vary state by state.  In many cases the process will take you 3-12 months depending upon your specific situation.  I suggest that you contact the Officer Strength Manager and work with them closely.  They will know the ins and outs of this process.

On a side note, if you’ve gone through this process before, or know more about the process, I would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment to this post.

If you have any questions I may be able to answer, just post those here. Thanks.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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21 thoughts on “How to Rejoin the Army National Guard After You’ve Resigned Your Commission”

  1. Chuck,

    Did you end up completing the process? I have just recently submitted my unqualified resignation due to the health of my 3 year old daughter and what looks like a probably mobilization. I’ve been on the fence for 2-years and would have preferred to transfer to the IRR, but they won’t accept these transfers now and are forcing resignations. I’d like to at least feel like there is hope down the road if I ever want to serve again. Thanks for your response in advance.

      1. Super tough decision to get out after 12 years, but I read one of your posts and found I agreed with almost all your points. Of course it’s a personal decision, but I thank you for putting it in writing so I didn’t feel alone with some of my thoughts. So hard to walk away from something I’ve embraced and have been so good at, but family first.

        1. Jason, if you ever change your mind, it can be done. It may not be easy, but it’s possible. I just ended a lengthy break in service (17+ years). In addition to the Guard, another path is a reappointment into the Army Reserve. There’s a Board that meets each summer. As you would expect, packets are due well before the summer for that Board (November time frame). If the Board picks you up, then you have to pass a Chapter 2 physical. The nice part about that process is that it eliminates any State nuances, no need for a FEDREC Board, and you will have a slot somewhere for sure.

  2. Good post, Chuck. I resigned in 2002 after my initial obligation was complete. I’ve thought about coming back in the Army on several different occasions. Maybe I’ll have to put my packet together and see what happens.

  3. I resigned my commission and tried to get back in, but all they would offer me was enlisted positions. I decided to pass.

  4. Great post. Getting back in the Army in 2013 and beyond is much harder to do, especially with the draw down and budget cuts. In many cases, you might have to take a demotion or even come back in as an enlisted Soldier if you want to finish your time.

  5. I had no idea that the process for officers was so difficult, but it does make sense. You don’t want someone who is just going to rejoin just to get out again when they change their minds. Honestly it seems that this should be true of both officer and enlisted. Though breaks in service can be for perfectly good reasons, we should want to weed out those who are just wishy-washy.

    1. You make some good points about being wishy-washy. I’d just like to chime in and say the things can change for anyone. Divorce, marriage, spouse’s new job assignment, ill parent and anything else can change someone’s priorities at any moment. Good Soldiers should be given the opportunity to come back in if they can meet certain standards and they had a proven track record while they were in.

    2. I’m in the process of trying to get back in and it’s fairly difficult. You have to go to MEPS and you have to find a unit. MEPS isn’t all that difficult, but if you are a Captain or above, finding an open slot in the Guard or Reserves can be challenging.

  6. Thanks for laying out the process. It certainly doesn’t seem easy, so I guess it’s important to be sure you know what you’re doing when you decide to resign your commission. That said, sometimes family emergencies or other tough situations can force you to leave. Is it harder if you try to rejoin in a different state?

    1. Andrew,

      I’m in the process of rejoining the Army National Guard right now. It’s been drawn out almost five months so far, but I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. You just need to stay persistent, keep in touch with the recruiters and get things done. My packet waited a few months to go before a board. Next, I need to do an interview. If that goes well I need to get the medical done and then I should be good to go.

    2. Katelyn Hensel

      I like that it’s not easy to rejoin. While they may have left for valid reasons, the long process for re-entry is bound to discourage those who’s hearts still aren’t in the job, and those who are truly dedicated to coming back into the fold will of course be willing to go through the long process. Good luck with your re-entry Chuck! Glad the light’s finally shining through that tunnel for you.

      1. Thanks, Katelyn. I like your point about it being tough to rejoin the Army National Guard after you’ve resigned your commission. The long, drawn out process will definitely keep a lot of people who are sitting on the fence from coming back in. The process can take more than a year and it’s very drawn out.

        Thanks for the comment.


  7. Returning has traditionally been much simpler for enlisted soldiers, not much different than what it takes to join in the first place–mostly a medical screening at MEPS. I’ve seen people leave and come back plenty of times over the years. These days, however, it’s getting steadily more difficult. What I’ve heard unofficially but from reliable sources is that the military is concerned about additional disability claims, so if you’ve deployed before supposedly your chances of being accepted again after getting out aren’t so hot. We’ve been warning soldiers who are considering ETSing not to assume that they can just come back in a year or two. These days out may be out for good.

    1. That’s true, Daniel. In today’s world it can be difficult to get back in the military, but with a little persistence and a game plan, it’s still possible. It’s important to keep all your paperwork in order and stay healthy, so you can simplify the process as much as possible.

  8. I didn’t realize that there was such an intensive process to rejoining the Army National Guard after you’ve resigned your commission. It makes sense, but it just seems like a lot of work for someone to go through who has already served!

    1. It is a crazy process, Michelle. But I guess that’s a good thing. The Army needs to make sure it is still getting a quality Officers to lead its Soldiers. I believe the “process” will weed out a lot of potential Officers who aren’t “real serious” about rejoining the ranks.


      1. With the draw down in the big Army and the budget cuts, it’s getting tougher and tougher to get back in. It’s not like it was during the height of the war when anyone could get back in. I’ve seen experienced Officers and NCOs turned away because there were no slots available.

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