Qualitative Service Program (QSP): An Overview

When we look from the outside in, the United States Army is similar to a large corporation. The fact is: it has to run in a similar fashion. What I mean by this is: sometimes difficult decisions must be made. These decisions can, and probably will effect some people’s livelihoods, but the main priority of keeping the Army running smoothly and in a cost efficient way must be the main goal.

In today’s post, we are going to examine a program that falls into the category of wise business. It is a program that may make some people angry, but it is one that has to be. I speak of the Qualitative Service Program (QSP). Here is an overview of that program.

What is QSP and when did it go into effect?

First, the Qualitative Service Program was put into activation on April 1st, 2012. The Army realized an over abundance of trained personnel in certain areas, and it was determined that they would be forced to release some of these soldiers. The original memo that was signed by Army Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno and Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond Chandler III said:

“It is imperative as we move forward that we retain our best leaders, but we can no longer afford certain over-strength Military Occupational Skills and promotion stagnation.”

Essentially, The Army is using this program to determine the soldiers that should be separated from Army service for various reasons.

The primary soldiers that the Qualitative Service Program affects are Non-commissioned Officers (E-6 through E-9).

Types of QSP elements

There are 3 primary types of Qualitative Service Program elements. These are all conducted by a board who determines the fates of those chosen. These elements are:

Qualitative Management Program Board (QMP): This board considers NCOs (E7-E9) for involuntary separation because of poor performance, improper conduct or potential for advancement that does not fall into Army standards.

Over Strength Qualitative Service Program Board (OS-QSP): This board considers NCOs (E6-E9) for involuntary separation because the NCO possesses an MOS in which the Army has determined the operational strength is above their 12 month goals.

Promotion Stagnation Qualitative Service Program Board (PS-QSP): This board considers NCOs (E6-E9) for involuntary separation when promotion stagnation is existent within the soldier’s MOS. This stagnation is determined by consideration of the timing objectives of promotion are exceeding the Army’s average.

The soldier’s options

There are several options that a soldier has when chosen for involuntary separation because of the QSP process.


With each one of the above elements, a soldier can appeal the decision within 60 days of notification. The appeal must be returned to the O5 level chain of command. The chain of command then has 30 days to forward the appeal with a recommendation of approval or disapproval. At that point, the QSP Board will consider the appeal and will determine a final decision.

Option #2

With elements OS-QSP and PS-QSP, the soldier can request a reclassification into an MOS that is at a shortage. The reclassification must be initiated within 30 days of this request, and the school must start within 6 months, or the soldier will be involuntarily separated.

Option #3

The soldier can request separation from the Army.

Option #4

Those soldiers who have 20 or more years of service can request immediate retirement.

Option #5

Lastly, any soldier who has at least 17 years, 9 months of service can request to be scheduled for retirement.

A soldier should

If you are concerned that you may be considered for the Qualitative Service Program, it is wise to research Army Regulation 635-200, with Chapter 19 being a primary reading source. It is also wise to contact your unit retention NCO. He/she should be able to explain the whole situation much better than I can.

Final thoughts

While at the time, when facing the QSP process, a soldier could feel like their world is falling down around them. We must always remember that when one door closes, another door opens. The experience a soldier gained from their service will surely lead to some wonderful civilian opportunities.

In the majority of cases, there is separation pay involved in the process, so essentially the Army will not leave the soldier sitting “high and dry.” Keep in mind that many corporations do not offer that benefit. They just chop a person and the person is on their own.

The United States Army knows that the soldier deserves more than just a kick out the door. They have many options and every soldier should be able to find one that will meet their needs.

We would like to hear from any soldiers who have been involuntarily separated from the Army. How did it work? How is it now? Do you agree or disagree with what I have said here?

If you are facing the QSP process and have questions, you can ask here, and we will do our best to provide an accurate answer, but it is wise to speak to your unit retention NCO; he/she should be able to answer your questions.

Thank you and have a great day!

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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