The Army Qualitative Retention Board (QRB): What You Should Know

So, you just received a memorandum that you meet the criteria for review by the Army Qualitative Retention Board. We feel your anxiety and stress. The first thing I must say is congratulations, you have served at least 20 years for your country. Be proud, and do not allow the stress of a QRB dictate your life.

In today’s post, we are going to examine the Army Qualitative Retention Board (QRB) and what you should know about it.

What the QRB is

Any Soldiers who have served in the United States Army National Guard or Army Reserve for 20 or more years must be reviewed every 2 years for retention potential. The objective is to determine acceptability for reenlistment or extending enlistment. The National Guard and Reserve want to guarantee that the most qualified Soldiers are retained beyond the 20 year mark.

Many Soldiers who have lasted for 20 years have the intention of staying until their mandatory retirement date. The Army National Guard or Reserve has been a great extra income, and it is understandable that a person would want to stay.

Before the QRB

Before your Qualitative Retention Board, you should make sure your personnel files (ORB/2-1) are completely up-to-date. Any, and all educational courses need to be in your ORB. You will also want to review your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF) and make sure it is completely accurate.

What else can you do to help guarantee your retention?

Let me be blunt without sounding like a donkey (to use a decent term).

Not much, because you should have been considering the QRB a long before this time. The Army National Guard and Army Reserve are businesses and run accordingly. They are going to retain those Soldiers who still have something to offer. If you are just doing the very minimum, you may have reason to be anxious and worried.

For those Soldiers who are seeking out and volunteering for challenging assignments, have upstanding evaluation reports, have consistently good APFT scores and meet and/or exceed civilian and military education objectives, they typically have nothing to worry about.

To help your cause, you could get a few letters of recommendation for your company or battalion commander, or even from your NCO Support Channel. Another good thing to do is to write a letter (memorandum) to the president of the board to stay why YOU think you should be retained.  These won’t guarantee you survive the board, but they will definitely help your cause.

Soldiers that will not be considered

No soldier in any of the following conditions will be considered in a Qualitative Retention Board:

Hasn’t completed 20 years of qualifying service for non-regular retirement pay before the board date.

Is subject to QMP (Qualitative Management Program) screening.

Is within 9 months of reaching the age of 60.

Is a Reserve or Guard Military Technician who has been retained to serve in the Military Technician assignment.

Has a bar to reenlistment.

Was promoted to current grade less than 1 year before the board convening.

If the Soldier is under favorable personnel actions suspension unless the suspension is for failure to pass the APFT or meeting body fat standards.

Final Thoughts

I must state here and now that the Army National Guard and Army Reserve always need quality Soldiers. If you have more to offer the service, you really should not worry about the Qualitative Retention Board.

Also, keep in mind that retirement is not a bad thing either. If the National Guard or Army Reserve decides not to retain you, you now have the ability to use all you have learned from the military in the civilian world. In many cases, the education and experience a person has received in the military can lead to some very lucrative jobs in the civilian world.

We would love to hear from some of you who have faced the QRB recently. What advice would you give someone who has been given a memorandum that they are on the list? What steps did you take to help be retained?

I also want to mention to all of the Soldiers reading this who have some years before their 20 year mark comes along. Keep the QRB in front of you and strive to make your records shine so you can be retained.  Go the extra mile and do what you can to stand out in the crowd.

To all of you who have given 20+ years of service…thank you.

11 thoughts on “The Army Qualitative Retention Board (QRB): What You Should Know”

  1. SSG Eric Corbett

    So I received the memo for the QRB but 2 weeks later I received notice that I am being promoted to SFC. Does that basically nullify the memo and how do I proceed?

  2. How adversly would one bad ncoer effect QRB, i had a new platoon sergent come in she wrote my annual while only being in the platoon 3 months and only 2 counselings, she dislikes me becuase i command more respecr from tye platoon then she does. Thus she has written a ncoer that reflects on me a declining ability to lead and has lost the trust of my subordinates and peers.

    1. I know this thread is old But I want you to understand you do not have a contract you have an extension of your original contract (eight year obligation). So yes they can terminate you. do all the things you need to do before you get to 20 years and you will survive. i have made it through tree of these so far and heading into my forth now.

  3. This is more of a question that I have, I currently serve on title 32 AGR status.. and I just received a letter about the QRB, I have 27 total years but only 14 AFS.. my military schools, civilian education , PT, NCOERs are all good .. 3 deployments to austere environments .. but I’m still nervous .. what is the likely outcome I need the next 6 for regular retirement , I currently serve as S1 .. this is the first time since I’ve been on orders but again it’s everyone with 20 years whether active federal or not.
    Do they have to retain you and allow you to get your retirement ? If not is there severance pay I can’t get a good answer in this one.

  4. CSM Robert S. McRae

    I went through this a few years ago even as a CSM and the information here is on point.
    You don’t fix issues after notification for poor career decisions.
    What you do need to do is ensure your records are correct and up to date.
    The QRB notification will tell you everything that needs to be provided.
    Make sure your ERB/ORB is 100% correct and matches what is in your OMPF.
    Currently physical fitness has heavy weight but nothing is more important than your asignments and performance evaluations. Update your DA Photo! If you submit a jacked up packet chances are you are going home even if you have done the tough jobs. Packet isn’t hard to put together and you will have plenty of time to do it. You should have an I LOVE ME book with all important information, never give anyone your last copy. Then make sure its in your OMPF. Lastly once you are over 20 years you will repeat every few years until you retire if you are retained so pay attention to the comments from the board on your review. If they tell you to complete a school DO IT or improve and area DO TI as they will see your last QRB comments with your current QRB. CSM McRae

  5. Herbert Auger

    Get the basics about the Army Qualitative Retention Board QRB and see how it can affect your career positively.


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