Q: Why did the Army create a QSP and what is it?
A: Active duty NCOs, upon attaining the rank of SSG, continue to serve in a voluntary
indefinite status once they reenlist with over 10 years of active federal service. These NCOs
continue to serve on active duty consistent with the retention control point (RCP) for the rank
they hold. Depending on their rank, the maximum period of service may extend up to 35 years.
Combined with promotion timing (pin-on points), RCPs establish specific leader development
gateways used to facilitate development of a professional NCO Corps. When faced with rapid
structure reductions, the Army cannot achieve balance (by skill and grade) by natural attrition
alone. It became evident a force shping process was needed in order to preserve viable career
path opportunities across all MOSs within an All Volunteer force.
By both statute (10 USC §1169 and §1171 for RA Soldiers, and 10 USC §12313(a) and
§12681 for RC Soldiers) and policy (AR 635-200, chapter 16-7), the Secretary of the Army (or
his/her designee) may authorize involuntary separation when authorization limitations, strength
restrictions, or budgetary constraints require the active duty enlisted force to be reduced in
number. What the Army did not have was a formal process; hence, the development of the
In early 2010, it became evident that the Army would not achieve mandated endstrength
requirements through natural attrition or reduced accessions alone, and it was going to be
necessary for currently serving, combat-seasoned Soldiers, to leave active service
involuntarily. In support of all of the ongoing leader development and talent management
efforts, the Army decision was to create a formal process that would retain highly qualified
Soldiers with the greatest potential for future contributions to the Army while concurrently
shaping the inventory by skill and grade in response to falling requirements. Since 1969, a
centralized selection process (HQDA Board) identifies enlisted Soldiers with the greatest
potential as best qualified for promotion. The Army has great confidence in this process and it
has passed the test of time. Consequently, the Army decided to incorporate this time-tested
and equitable process to qualitatively identify and retain Soldiers against quantitative
requirements. This became the QSP.
The QSP board convenes under the construct of a Memorandum of Instruction (MOI) that
outlines the board mission. The MOI provides guidelines to the board members to consider
files of Soldiers in select MOSs (those that are excess of projected requirements) who are
subject to denial of continued service. The objective of the selection process is to meet the
leadership and management needs of the Army and the Department of Defense by selecting
NCOs who, when compared against their contemporaries, do not have the greatest potential
for future contributions to the Army.
Q: Who is eligible for QSP?
A: All Soldiers whose Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) are formally announced by
MILPER Message and who meet the following criteria:
All CSM/SGM with at least three years in grade and less than 31 years of active federal
service as of the scheduled board date.
All 1SG/MSG with at least four years in grade and less than 28 years of active federal service
as of the scheduled board date.
All SFC with at least four years in grade and less than 25 years of active federal service as of
the scheduled board date.
All SSG with at least four years in grade who are not within one year of their Retention Control
Point (RCP) or Expiration of Term of Service (ETS) (whichever is later) as of the scheduled
Please download the Army QSP Frequently Asked Questions Sheet For more information.
American Counsel on Education or the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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