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Voluntary Retirements.  Officers submit voluntary retirement requests to SECNAV, via their commanding officer (or ISIC as appropriate) and BUPERS (PERS-8), nine to 12 months prior to desired date (MILPERSMAN 1810-020).  If officers wish to retire at their PRDs, retirement
requests may be submitted six to nine months prior.  If it is less than six months before PRD and an officer is notified by any means (official letter, message, postcard, telephone call or personal visit) that PCS orders will be issued, a retirement request is normally disapproved.  Retirement requests that do not meet the above criteria are normally disapproved.

Involuntary (Statutory) Retirements.  Involuntary retirements are determined by an officer's grade, total active service, age, and number of failures-of-selection (FOS) for promotion.  It is important to know your statutory retirement date, especially since the Selective Early
Retirement law exempts from SER consideration those whose statutory retirement date falls within a certain time frame.

Selective Early Retirement.  Personnel selected for Selective Early Retirement (SER) fall under the involuntary retirement statutes of Title 10, United States Code.  SERs are necessary to meet end-strength decreases and to reduce grade imbalances when required to downsize.  Those selected for SER face statutory retirement no later than the first day of the seventh month after approval of the board's proceedings.

Each LDO/CWO category has its own retirement laws; MILPERSMAN 1800-1899 provides details.  The following general guidelines, based on Active Duty Base Date (ADBD), can be used to compute statutory retirement dates for almost all LDOs/CWOs:

      - 6XX0 - LDO:  Captain:  First day of second month after 38 years total active naval service.  Commander:  First day of second month after 35 years total active naval service, or first day of seventh month after failing to select for O-6 for second time, whichever occurs first. 
LCDR/below:  First day of second month after 30 years total active service, or first day of seventh month after failing to select for next higher grade for second time, whichever occurs first.

      - 7XX1 - CWO:  CWO5:  First day of third month after 33 years total active service.  CWO4/below:  First day of third month after 30 years total active service, or first day of seventh month after failure of selection for next higher grade for second time, whichever occurs first.

By law, an LDO must complete 10 years of commissioned service before being eligible for voluntary retirement.

CWOs must serve the initial six year obligation after accepting appointment before being eligible for voluntary retirement.

All officers must fulfill obligated service requirements for education programs, etc., and comply with DOD/SECNAV area tour requirements.

Once promoted, there are certain obligated service requirements that individuals must meet to be retirement eligible.  Service Requirements under the Promotion Page provides minimum time-in-grade requirements for both voluntary and involuntary retirements.

If an officer is involuntarily retired before meeting minimum time in-grade requirements, SECNAV may authorize retirement in the highest grade held. In this case, LDOs must serve a minimum of six months in grade and CWOs a minimum of 1 day in grade.  Again, this only applies to involuntary retirements.

LDOs and CWOs may not revert to a former enlisted status.  In some circumstances LDOs/CWOs may be directed to revert to their former enlisted status and then separate or retire, in cases where punitive or administrative action were determined.

Although not common, it is possible for LDOs and CWOs to be continued beyond their statutory retirement dates under unusual circumstances.

SECNAV may continue permanent officers beyond their statutory retirement dates when shortages exist that cannot be filled through normal accession or promotion processes.  LDOs and CWOs may be continued if: 

      - Selected for promotion to the next higher grade, but subject to involuntary retirement for completion of 30 years total active service before their promotion date.

     - Critical skill shortages exist that cannot be filled by selecting new LDOs or CWOs.  This option is seldom required.

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