Army Career Intermission Pilot Program


Army Policy Offering Up To Three

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A retention policy offering Soldiers a chance to take a break in service while receiving pay and benefits for up to three years is now a permanent program.

The sabbatical program, called the Career Intermission Program, or CIP, is a way for Soldiers to take a knee in service for personal or professional goals when they might have otherwise left the Army, said Rowland Heflin, a personnel policy integrator with the Army G-1.

The Army allows officers and enlisted Soldiers a chance to transition from the Regular Army and Army Reserve Active Guard Reserve, or AGR, program to the Individual Ready Reserve for a length of time not to exceed three years.

During their sabbaticals, Soldiers might use the time to start families, care for ailing parents, attend college, or whatever else they need a break for, he said.

While in the CIP program, Soldiers are given a monthly stipend of two-thirtieths of their basic pay along with the same medical benefits and commissary privileges. In addition, they can carry forward up to 60 days of leave on their return to active duty, Heflin said.

Lawmakers first allowed a version of the program as a pilot in 2009. The Army initiated the pilot program through a directive in 2014, which the new policy supersedes and makes the program permanent, Heflin said.

How it works

CIP is an alternative for that. It provides a way for them to be relieved from active duty, focus on their personal goals, and then return to active duty, Heflin added.

Other Considerations Before Applying For Cip

Before you apply, consider the long-term implications of the CIP. While you will be able to return to Active Duty without any penalties, you will have time added to your service commitment. With the 2022 NDAA, you owe 1x taken out. So if you take 1 year off, you owe 1 year upon returning back in.

Furthermore, there are financial implications. You will no longer be Active Duty military while under CIP. While you will still have medical benefits and access to base agencies, you will not receive full pay. Youll receive only a small monthly stipend . Therefore, make sure you have adequate savings and a financial plan in place for your time out of Active Duty.

*Written in Coordination with Becca, Air Force Key Spouse*

We would love your feedback or further insight on this topic!

New Army Policy Offers Soldiers A Break Up To Three Years

FORT HOOD, Texas – A retention policy offering soldiers a chance to take a break in service while receiving pay and benefits for up to three years is now a permanent program.

The Career Intermission Program is now a way for soldiers to take up to three years of a break in active-duty service for personal, professional or educational goals. Army leaders say this way, soldiers who would normally separate permanently are more likely to stick around.

This could not only provide satisfaction for education or a significant life event, but they know they have a peace of mind that they can return back to the service, said Tila Jernigan, Director of Military & Veteran Services at Texas A& M Central Texas.

So ultimately, you have a more productive service member.

It all started with a pilot program in 2009, and finally was just recently was made permanent.

It probably took some time to study this and what the success rate it would have it did become permanent, Jernigan.

3 years is a significant time and so I think they had to really see what their success rate would be before they fully implement the program.

Whether its education, caring for an elderly parent, those are significant life events and even though youre taking a reduction in pay, youre still getting your benefits, she said.

This makes it a little more attainable for you to do that.

More information about the program can be found on the Armys website or Human Resources Commands website.

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Career Intermission Programs One Branch Of Service At A Time

Not all branches of the military adopted the Career Intermission Program right awaythe Air Force and the Army held out until 2014 to offer the program, which was formally codified and made permanent by the 2019 NDAA.

Career intermission in general means getting a minimum of one year, but no more than three years relieved of active duty. Once the program has ended for the servicemember, they return to full-time duty with no change in rank. The tradeoff for these career intermissions? The service member has to agree to serve longer in exchange for the time off.

A Unique Opportunity To Go From High School To Flight School

Career Intermission Pilot Program offers Soldiers a break

The Army is the only branch of the military where you learn how to become a pilot with a high school degree or equivalent, all while receiving Army pay and benefits.In exchange for paid pilot training, youll commit to ten years of service after you graduate from the six-week Warrant Officer Flight School as an Aviation Warrant Officer, a respected aviation expert role in the Army. The value of this type of experience matches that of the cost of a civilian or university flight school.Like all Warrant Officers in the Army, you’ll be responsible for solving technical problems within your area of expertise, serving as invaluable advisers to commanders and other Soldiers, and training enlisted Soldiers and Officers in a specific career field. Other Aviation Warrant Officer roles in the Army include Helicopter Pilot Warrant Officer and Airplane Pilot Warrant Officer.

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Basics Of The Career Intermission Program

Keep in mind that all DoD programs, policies, rules, and regulations are subject to change through congressional law, executive order, changes in DoD policy, etc. What applies today may be modified tomorrow which is why its always a good idea to discuss these military career options with your First Sergeant, Command Sergeant Major, Navy Detailer, assignments officer, or someone from the base personnel office.

When you are accepted into the Career Intermission Program, the following generally applies:

  • Military duty status is changed from Active Duty service to the Individual Ready Reserve
  • While in the program you still have access to medical and dental benefitsMilitary pay while in the program is 2/30th Active Duty Basic Pay
  • You may be authorized to be paid relocation expenses for household goods moved as a result of entering the program
  • GI Bill benefits can be used during the career intermission

You read the above correctlyservice members do not draw full active duty pay when they are participating in the Career Intermission Program. And there are other things a servicemember participating in the Career Intermission Program is not eligible for during the program:

  • Military tuition assistance

Because fewer than 10 percent of the eligible military members who could apply do so. Many report wanting to use the program to complete some form of higher education.

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Pursuing a career in Army Aviation opens you up to an exciting array of many different specialties. From flying planes, to operating drones, to fixing Black Hawk helicopters, and more, youll have an exciting career ahead of youno matter the role.When you take on the challenge to pursue one of these careers, however, it will require skilled training. Youll learn to stay calm and focused in all weather conditions when operating aircraft, while learning to lead all types of vital combat and support missions.

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How The Cip Works

If you are selected for the Career Intermission Program, you transfer from active duty to the Individual Ready Reserve. This is a one-time, temporary transition for a period of up to three years.

For each month you are in CIP, you commit to an Active Duty Service Commitment of 2 months. ADSC appears to be an Air Force specific term, so fill in with whatever your Service equivalent is if you are in another Department. Thats a 2x payback period, which may or may not work out for you. One person I interviewed mentioned that, based on his timing, it gave him an ADSC until he reached his 20-year point, virtually guaranteeing him a military retirement. This obviously wont be everybodys experience, but its worth paying attention to.

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    What You Need To Know About The Career Intermission Program

    **2022 Program Update**The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act has decreased the CIP pay back time to 1x time out

    Military service members who want to take time off to pursue academicachievements, start a family, support an ailing family member, work for private industry, or just take a sabbaticalfrom military service can leave active service for up to three years under a lesser-known DoD program. The Career Intermission Program allows selected service members in all DoD branches to take a 1-3 year sabbatical before returning back to Active Duty service.

    If youve never heard of the program, youre not alone. What is the Career Intermission Program, or CIP? Who is eligible for CIP? And where can you find out more? We hope to answer your first questions here.

    Sma Sends: Career Intermission Program


    We must consider People First sometimes that means looking at the long term as opposed to the short term.

    As an Army, we must stay flexible as we fight to retain the talent we have cultivated in our Soldiers. With this in mind, I want you to look at the establishment of the Career Intermission Program as a permanent option. Since its inception as a pilot in 2014, CIP has provided Soldiers the opportunity to take a sabbatical from their Army career to pursue personal interests.

    I do not want to lose the focus on troops re-enlisting at their eligible gates. However, temporary circumstances have been known to divert Soldiers into permanent separation. It is our job to make sure Soldiers are at least aware of this opportunity before they permanently get out.

    There are no specific reasons to apply, and no list of acceptable criteria which could account for all the variables life throws at us. Many have utilized CIP to get a degree, take care of a family member, raise a child, align professional timelines with a spouse, or acquire a professional skill. Regardless of the reason, eligible Soldiers can be placed in an Individual Ready Reserve status for up to three years.

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    Take Three Years Off: Army Expands Career Intermission Pilot Program

    The Army is expanding opportunities for soldiers to participate in its Career Intermission Pilot Program, according to a new directive from the secretary of the Army. Congress authorized the program in 2009 as a retention incentive for all the services, which were given the option to offer it. Originally, the Army’s version of the program was limited to no more than 20 officers and 20 enlisted soldiers each calendar year. Under the new directive, prompted by the latest defense authorization bill, the Army removes those limits and no longer renders soldiers ineligible if they haven’t completed their initial active-duty obligation, enlistment period or service obligation for a retention bonus, according to the Army. Soldiers will be selected for the program based on demonstrated performance, future potential and the justification of need for the intermission, officials said. The Career Intermission Pilot Program came into being largely because the Navy was experiencing “considerable” trouble retaining female sailors, personnel officials said. Between 2003 and 2008, multiple studies on retention among the Navy’s surface warfare officer community pointed to an “inability to address personal and family needs, especially among female service members,” officials said at the time. The studies also showed that these reasons starting a family, dealing with chronically ill relatives, and so on were primary factors in whether these officers continued their careers.

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    Affording The Career Intermission Program

    Career Intermission Pilot Program offers Soldiers a break

    August 1, 2017MilitaryDollar

    Do you ever want to take a break from the military? Im not talking about separating or retiring. Those are usually permanent decisions. Im talking about taking a couple years off to pursue other goals. Maybe you want to earn a degree but the military isnt willing to send you to school and you dont have time to do it after work. Maybe you want to travel the world while you are young. Or maybe you have an ill parent who needs a caretaker, or you want to stay home with your kids for awhile. There are a lot of reasons why people might want to leave the military for a short time, even if they dont want to leave permanently. Enter the Career Intermission Program.

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    Need A Break From The Army This Program May Help

    Need to take care of your parents? Want to go to law school? Interested in starting a family? The Army is providing a new path for soldiers to take a break from active duty to take care of life, as one brochure puts it.

    The Armys now-permanent Career Intermission Program allows eligible active duty soldiers and AGR Army Reserve troops to request as long as three years of time away from full-time service.

    Acting Army Secretary John Whitley signed a directive May 6 formally establishing the program.

    The long-term intent of the CIP is to retain the valuable investment in experience and training the Army would otherwise lose when Soldiers separate permanently, said Whitley in the directive.

    Preliminary versions of the program have been around since Congress initially authorized it as a retention tool in 2009. The Navy was the first service to implement it as a retention tool, and the Army began experimenting with the concept in 2014.

    Under the permanent version of the program, participating soldiers transfer from the Regular Army or Army Reserve to the Inactive Ready Reserve and essentially pause their service, seniority and retirement eligibility clocks for the duration of their break.

    While on hiatus, troops will receive two days worth of their paycheck per month, in addition to continued active duty medical and dental benefits for them and their families.

    There is a catch.

    But as always, the program comes with some fine print, according to the directive.

    Why Gao Did This Study

    Congress authorized CIPP in 2009, with the intent of enhancing retention and providing greater flexibility in the career path of servicemembers. CIPP allows interested servicemembers to take career intermissions of up to 3 years in order to meet personal or professional needs–such as pursuing higher education, or caring for ailing parents or young children–and then return to active duty with no adverse career effects.

    Senate Report 114-255 to accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 included a provision for GAO to provide a report to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees on the Department of Defenses CIPP. This report describes the costs of CIPP since it began in 2009 the number of servicemembers who participated in CIPP, their occupations, and their reasons for participating the number of servicemembers who did not return from their career intermissions, and reasons why they did not return and for those servicemembers who returned from their career intermissions, how they progressed in their careers. GAO analyzed data for each military service on costs and participation and interviewed DOD officials.

    For more information, contact Brenda S. Farrell at 202.512.3604 or

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    What Else Im Working On

    In my next post about the Career Intermission Program, Im going to go into some of the ideas Ive had about ways you can save, or earn, money while in CIP. If you have any questions youd like answered, please let me know.

    Additionally, Im looking to gather more info from participants! That includes people who havent yet applied or been accepted into the program. Id love to learn more about how you are preparing for the Career Intermission Program.

    Normally when I have a multi-part series, I post them weekly. In order to allow time to contact more CIP participants, I havent yet decided on a posting schedule. If I have enough information to post a Part 2 next week, I will . I also dont know how many parts this series will have. Ill keep it going as long as Im receiving helpful information from participants. Ill also provide updates if/when the program changes, and if I come up with any more good ideas for saving/earning money during CIP. Sound good?

    What questions do you have about the Career Intermission Program? Leave them in the comments below or reach out to me at

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