Army ROTC Error Could Add Years To Service Commitments
The United States Army has an ROTC program called the Green to Gold Active Duty Option, also known as G2GADO. Under this program, ROTC members could have their ROTC time in college counted as time in service, just as if the soldiers were deployed or at a permanent duty station.
Time in service is an important determining factor in when an Army officer gets promoted, receives pay raises, or becomes eligible for certain Army programs or options. The brand new Army officer candidate does not get paid as much as one who has served for two years or more, for example.
But U.S. Army Cadet Command has published guidance noting that it’s a violation of federal law to do so.
The Army cannot use ROTC or similar programs as qualifying time in service toward promotions, higher pay, or retirement dates. The Army has apparently been offering these perks to ROTC candidates applying under Green to Gold in violation of federal law.
Related: Military Tuition Assistance
What is the Green To Gold Active Duty Option?
Army Times describes the Green to Gold Active Duty Option as a version of a commissioning program offered to enlisted soldiers. The Active Duty Option allows soldiers “to complete two years of university schooling and, upon receiving their degree, commission as an officer.”
What makes this program unique and problematic under the law?
Some scholarship programs offered as a gateway to an Army commission require applicants to pause their military service to attend school. The program in question here allows soldiers to keep their active duty status and get Army pay and benefits at the same time. But federal law apparently says you can’t count ROTC time as active service time.
Army Corrective Measures
The real question at press time is whether the Army should begin the Green to Gold Active Duty program in a new way, either without labeling it as an ROTC option, without offering time in service perks, and without penalizing those who signed up under the old system.
But what happens if the Army does not “grandfather” those already in Green to Gold?
According to some sources, that could force some soldiers into spending additional time in uniform to qualify for promotion, pay raises, retirement, NCO school, or other professional military education.
How much time? That may depend on individual circumstances, but some could find their military obligation requiring another two years.
Will the Army attempt to “claw back” funds used for the Green to Gold program that have since been determined to be illegal? Will the Army penalize its own officers for its mistake? Or will it do the right thing and try to resolve the issue in the least intrusive way?
An important fact in all of this is that it took an Army Inspector General review of the system to catch the error, and those errors have been going on for YEARS.
Will the typical O1 or O2 be forced to face the music for the Army’s mistakes and tack on up to two years of additional service time for something that wasn’t the soldier’s fault?
Especially when published sources note that troops were specifically told in some cases that their retirement dates would not be negatively affected by participating.
Army Times notes that it may take a congressional rewrite of the program’s rules in order to prevent the Army from trying to get back funds or extend commissioning dates based on participation in Green to Gold. But at press time there has been no definitive statement or policy made.
Related: Military Tuition Assistance
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.