The team at ArmyConnect™ congratulates you on making it to the finish line of your career. Some of you are right at 20 years and some of you are overachievers at 20+ years of service, but we also recognize our brothers and sisters in arms whose career is cut short due to injury. This profession demands a lot of your mind, body, spirit, and sanity. Thank you all for your service. Our goal is to provide you with supporting fires as you make your transition from a Soldier to Civilian.

Your Army retirement should not be difficult and we know the Transition Assistance Program is only a starting point. To their credit, the Army makes almost every tool available to Soldiers. Unfortunately, the one-size-fits all approach doesn’t meet the standard. Additionally, the resources are disjointed and fail to address all the ‘word-by-mouth’ tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) that provide a successful career change for many and leave others feeling uninformed and ill-prepared. We want to assist to the best of our ability to make your soldier transition into your next career or to Fort Living Room smooth, safe, and sane.

How Do I Make a Successful Transition or Retirement in 2023?

How the Army transitions Soldiers, on good terms or not, is part of your Army story and your loved ones experience with the military. If leaders want to make a lasting impression on the Force, they need to understand that planning and executing a solid transition plan is just as important as a gunnery or conducting Basic Airborne Refresher (BAR) after being a mech warrior for several years. While the Army has the Transition Assistance Program, a soldier’s transition extends beyond them to family and friends. A good transition helps spread the word that indeed, the Army takes care of their people; from start to finish. No matter if it is retirement, one Tour of Duty, or looking for greener pastures somewhere in between.

To assist in your soldier transition, you can start with the U.S. Army Retirement Planning Guide 2023.

Do I have to Attend the Transition Assistance Program?

In short, yes. This is not the end-all solution to your transition. Similarly to your military career and life in general, your results are based on how much effort you put into the program, how early you start, and how committed you are to planning and executing that plan.

What Additional Resources are Available for an Army Transition?

  • Army Soldier Transition Employment Opportunities – we want to take all the hot tips that many Soldiers are unaware exists and consolidate into one easy SITREP
  • Army Retirement Timeline – we have witnessed too many Soldiers start their retirement plan, on average, nine months from starting terminal leave
  • Army Retirement Benefits – we want to lay everything out in one smart, easy-to-digest, format; no more hunting and pecking
  • Army Transition Assistance Program – ensure you are prepared; this is a Commander’s program, but an individual responsibility; you owe it to yourself to be ready
  • Retiring Soldier Input – we want to hear from you, your experiences, your input, your success stories, #payitforward

If you are looking to use your Army experience on your next resume here are some job title examples to help bridge the gap.

The Army has a pilot program in 2023 that allows Soldiers in the Regular Army (RA) to submit their request to retire from active duty between 12 and 24 months before their retirement date. Note: As of February 2023, this pilot program does not apply to active-duty retirements from the Army National Guard (ARNG) or the United States Army Reserve (USAR).

Please let us know if there are any benefits we can add as AKO cards to this page.

– ArmyConnect™ Staff –


Our AKO Cards link to official Army websites that you requested. Time to make a change.

Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET)

  • All Service Members and Veterans are eligible to receive a VMET
  • Access your VMET via MilConnect
  • Your VMET is updated quarterly and may not show the last 6 months
  • Update before Army Retirement, verify with through the Army Career Tracker (ACT) website
Veteran Soldier Transition and Army Retirement


ArmyConnect looks to provide our visitors with a one-page summary of their retirement benefits and information. The following information is an excerpt from the U.S. Army Soldier For Life Transition Assistance Program website.

Per MILPER Message 22-493, HQDA extended the application period up to 24 months prior to retirement date under a temporary pilot program during the period 1 Jan 23 – 31 Dec 23. The minimum time to file for retirement is:

  • Officers – 9 months before start date of terminal leave
  • Enlisted – 9 months before retirement date

It depends on what you want to do and how you want to do it. We recommend as early as 36 months out or your second-to-last duty station (two PCS’s from retirement). Or, no later than 24 months out. Here are some additional considerations:

  • Retire at a duty station that is in close proximity to your retirement location. For example, Fort Knox and retire in Louisville, KY.
  • Retire in a military city (close to last duty station). For example, Fort Cavazos and retire in Killeen.
  • Retire near to a DoD SkillBridge or Army Career Skills Program (CSP) provider/host.
  • Retire based on what spouses’ employment and career needs.
  • Retire based on your family or child needs.
  • Medical needs.
  • Retirement home location.

In short yes and no. According to several financial planners, you need between 60-80% of your pre-retirement income depending on where you stand financially.

  • Yes: With proper planning, a retirement account, and paying off your debt before you retire (start with credit cards), you can enjoy a fairly work-free retirement or have the freedom to choose a less demanding post-retirement career path.
  • No: Without proper planning you will not make enough from retirement income alone. Saving is difficult since the 2008/9 Great Recession coupled with a pandemic and inflation.

36-24 Months before Soldier Transition / Retirement

  • Gather and read resources, such as the retirement planning guide; pertinent Army regulations and installation procedures that you must follow to retire.
  • Determine the service providers who will assist you with retirement planning and processing, such as the Retirement Services Office and the Transition Office.
  • Estimate your monthly living expenses and build 3-6 months of savings to pay transition expenses and support your family if you have an employment gap.
  • Build a timeline to retirement by outlining the major decisions you need to make and exactly when you must make them to stay on course for your retirement date.

24-18 Months before Soldier Transition / Retirement

  • Schedule yourself (and your spouse, if applicable) to attend the local retirement planning seminar.
  • Schedule yourself (and your spouse, if applicable) to attend the local Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and coordinate your attendance with your unit.
  • What are your remaining service obligations and when will they be completed?
  • Are you scheduled to PCS in the next two years? You normally have to stay on station for one year after you PCS before you can retire.
  • How much terminal leave do you want to take? Do you need to start building to that amount?
  • Use the MyArmyBenefits calculators to estimate your retired pay and Survivor Benefit Plan annuity and costs.
  • Investigate converting your SGLI to VGLI or civilian life insurance.
  • Consider buying commercial life insurance before you apply for VA disability compensation.

18-12 Months before Soldier Transition / Retirement

  • Decide on your retirement date.
  • Prepare your request for retirement to submit it when you have 12 months left.
  • Seek medical and dental care for any unresolved conditions.
  • Incorporate any documentation of medical care received during a deployment or from civilian providers into your military medical records.
  • Begin researching health care options.
  • Start employment networking; investigate LinkedIn. Attend a job fair to see how it works— before you are ready to start interviewing.
  • Begin accumulating a wardrobe for post-retirement employment, if needed.
  • Apply to colleges if you or your family members will attend right after retirement.
  • Use the Survivor Benefit Plan calculator on MyArmyBenefits to determine your annuity and premium. Discuss this with your spouse, who must concur if you take less that the maximum. Consider life insurance in addition to SBP

12-6 Months before Soldier Transition / Retirement

  • At the 12-month mark, submit your retirement request and leave plan.
  • At the 12-month mark, complete the pre-separation transition checklist (DD Form 2648) with the transition office.
  • Between 9 and 6 months, schedule your retirement physical as close to the 6-month mark as possible, so you can use it in a claim for VA disability compensation while you’re still on active duty.
  • Submit your final request for transition administrative absence and terminal leave 60-90 days before you plan to take it. That could be as far out as 6 or 7 months before retirement depending on how much you take and when.
  • Start your job search.

6-1 month(s) before Soldier Transition / Retirement

  • Focus on your job search.
  • Attend your retirement physical.
  • If appropriate, submit VA Form 21-526, Application for Compensation from Department of Veterans Affairs if you want to be considered for disability compensation. Use the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) Program.
  • Conduct house hunting if you’re moving.
  • Update your wills and powers of attorney with the Staff Judge Advocate.
  • Contact the transportation office to schedule delivery of your household goods, if moving.
  • Prepare for and handover job responsibilities.
  • If you are under the Blended Retirement System (BRS) and want a lump sum of your retired pay at the time of your retirement, submit your DD Form 2656, Data for Payment of Retired Personnel (and Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) election) no less than 90 days before retirement. If you’re not retiring under BRS, submit the form at least 60 days out. A DD Form 2656-1 is needed if a former spouse SBP election is being made.
  • Schedule your retirement ceremony or coordinate to participate in the local or installation group ceremony.
  • Change your email address in any account that contains your DoD email address, especially your myPay account at DFAS.

MONTH OF RETIREMENT / Soldier Transition to Civilian

  • Out process/pick up DD Form 214.
  • Ship household goods.
  • Attend retirement ceremony.
  • If not done yet, make Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) election (by law, this must be done before you retire).
  • If not done yet, update your wills and power of attorney.
  • Pick up your, and your family member’s medical/dental records.
  • If active duty, enroll in FEDVIP dental and/or vision care insurance plans.

0-6 months after Soldier Transition / Retirement

  • Turn in your CAC and obtain your retired ID card and new dependent ID cards as soon as possible. This is critical because your benefits have changed.
  • Within 120 days, sign up for the TRICARE health plan you chose and initiate the allotment to pay the premiums. This is not done automatically.
  • Within 120 days, convert your SGLI to VGLI (VA sends application), if desired.
  • Complete DD Form 2860, Application for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC), if applicable, but only after the VA has given you a disability rating.
  • Join a veteran or military service organization or the closest installation retiree council to continue to serve.
  • Start working for the Department of Defense (DoD)—no earlier than 180 days after your retirement date without a waiver if the position is GS-14 or above.


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