Retirement Services Program

Army National Guard: Active Duty Under Title 10 USC or Title 32 USC (Full-Time National Guard Duty)

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) Retirement Services Program provides assistance to Soldiers and their Families preparing for and transitioning to retirement, Families of Soldiers who die on active duty, and Retired Soldiers, surviving Spouses and their Families. Through a network of Retirement Services Officers (RSOs) at major Army installations, National Guard State Headquarters, and Army Reserve Readiness Divisions (RDs) and Mission Support Commands (MSCs) worldwide, they: 1) provide counseling to these groups on their rights, benefits and entitlements, 2) provide Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) counseling and assist with maintaining SBP elections, 3) provide Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) counseling and assist with maintaining RCSBP elections and 4) keep the retiree population informed of law and benefit changes.


Retirement planning services of installation and ARNG RSOs are available to active duty ARNG Soldiers, surviving Spouses, and their Families.  Post-retirement program services are available to all Retired Soldiers and their Families.

Benefit Highlights

Paratroopers hooked to a static line

Major program components include:

Retirement Planning

  • Mandatory Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Counseling - Every ARNG Soldier who retires with 20 or more years of Active Federal Service (AFS) and their Spouse (if applicable) must receive counseling by a qualified RCSBP/SBP Counselor on available SBP options and the potential effects of participating or not participating in each of these options. This counseling should take place after the retirement application is submitted and should be at least 60 days before the official retirement date. Any previous elections made under RCSBP are nullified when the Soldier is retired with a Regular (active service) retirement. For more information, refer to the SBP page at .

  • Mandatory SBP Election - ARNG Soldiers with 20 years or more of active service must complete their SBP election on a DD Form 2656 no later than the day before their regular retirement with 20 or more years of active service. If the Soldier is married, the Spouse is notified of the Soldier's election when the Soldier elects less than the maximum Spouse SBP coverage allowed by the law. The Spouse must provide written notarized concurrence with the election when the Soldier elects less than the maximum Spouse SBP coverage allowed by the law. Without the Spouse's written notarized concurrence prior to date retired, the Soldier will receive the maximum level of coverage allowable under the law.Change of Misson

  • Change of Mission Newsletter - The Army’s retirement planning newsletter, Change of Mission, is a quarterly electronic newsletter sent to Soldiers in all three components with 17+ years of service. Change of Mission educates Soldiers about the retirement process, the decisions they and their Families will make leading up to and immediately after their retirements, how their benefits will change when they retire, and why the Army wants them to be active Soldiers for Life in retirement.

Retirement Planning Briefing Policy

  • It is mandatory that all Soldiers retiring with an active service retirement attend a retirement planning seminar between the retirement application submission date and at least 12 months before the retirement date (or start date of terminal leave).

  • Provisions will be made to assist medically retiring Soldiers who may be so severely wounded/injured that neither the Soldier nor the Family members are able to attend a retirement planning seminar/SBP briefing. Such special briefings should be conducted no later than the start of the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) process.


  • Retiree Council Programs - The HQDA Retirement Services office administers the Chief of Staff, Army (CSA) Retiree Council; each installation RSO administers an Installation Retiree Council. The main objectives of the councils are to provide input to Army leadership on significant issues affecting the retiree community and to help the Army communicate with the retired community across the Army. The Army’s Retired Soldier Council Program consists of five elements:

    • The CSA Retired Soldier Council established by the CSA and chartered by HQDA

    • Installation Retiree Councils established and chartered by individual installation or garrison commanders

    • Army Service Component Commands (ASCC) Retiree Councils established and chartered by ASCC commanders

    • State Retiree Councils established and chartered by The Adjutant General (TAG) of the States and Territories

    • RD or MSC Retiree Councils established and chartered by RD or MSC commanders.

  • Retiree Appreciation Days (RADs) - RADs are conducted by installation and Reserve Component (RC) RSOs to keep Retired Soldiers and their Families informed of rights, benefits, and privileges and to foster goodwill between the retired and currently serving communities. RADs are conducted at least annually by major Army installations in CONUS and by garrisons in overseas command. Click here for current schedule. These dates are published in Army Echoes and in local installation newsletters sent to the retiree community in their area of operation.Army Echoes Newsletter

  • Army Echoes - The Army Retirement Services office publishes the Army Echoes newsletter four times per year to keep Retired Soldiers and Spouses in touch with the Army and inform them of their rights, benefits, and responsibilities. Army Echoes is sent electronically to all Retired Soldiers and SBP annuitants to the email address associated with their myPay accounts with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Only those without an email address in myPay will receive the hardcopy edition of Army Echoes.

  • Installation Retiree Newsletters are published by each major Army installation specific to their geographic area at least once per year.


  • Upon retirement, all Soldiers, regardless of component, are entitled to receive the Army Retiring Soldier Commendation Program (ARSCP) Package as of 15 May 2009. The package includes the following:

    • A personalized full-color letter signed by the Secretary of the Army, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Sergeant Major of the Army

    • Full-color box carrier

    • U.S. Flag, measuring 3 feet by 5 feet, cotton outdoorSFL logo

    • U.S. Army Retired Lapel Button

    • One DA Label 180 (exterior) and one DA label 180-1 (interior)"Soldier for Life" window stickers

  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) - RSOs assist the servicing legal assistance office in their area in counseling active and Retired Soldiers, Spouses, and former Spouses on the legislation regarding former Spouse SBP and division of retired pay.

  • For more information about the services provided by the Army Retirement Services Program, please see the websites in the "Additional Information" section below.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the website maintained by the Department of the Army Soldier for Life at:

Retirement Services Program Army Regulation 600-8-7:

Army Retirement Service Officers:

For National Archives Military Records Request information:

Document Review Date: 30 September 2022