Army National Call to Service (NCS) Enlistments

L.E.D. banner of American Flag in Times Square, NY
L.E.D. billbord depicting a large-scale American Flag outside the US Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square, NY. Busà Photography / Getty Images

The Army is dramatically expanding its National Call to Service (NCS) Enlistment Program, commonly called the "Two-Year Enlistment."

Congress mandated that all of the military services offer the NCS program, effective October 2003. Under the NCS program, a person enlists on active duty for a period of 15 months, following basic training and job training (which makes an average 24-month active duty enlistment period).

Everyone who enlists under the NCS incurs a total 8-year military service obligation. Following the active duty commitment, recruits will have to accept one of the following:

  • Reenlist on active duty (for a time period that will be specified in the original enlistment contract)
  • Serve two years in the active National Guard or Reserves (this means a minimum of drilling one weekend per month, plus training for two weeks per year, plus the possibility of being recalled to active duty by the President for deployments/contingency operations, etc.).

After serving for the additional time period mentioned above, the commitment is not over yet (remember, this is a total eight-year commitment). Whatever time remains of that total eight-year commitment, must be spent in one of the following programs:

  • Active Duty
  • Selected Reserves (The one that requires weekend drill and two weeks per year training)
  • Inactive Reserves (The program where you can be recalled to active duty if needed, but don't perform weekend drill or annual training)
  • Another program such as Peace Corps or Americorps
  • Combination of any of the above

As with the other services, the Army wasn't thrilled with the program when Congress mandated it, and instituted it on a very limited basis. The program was only available at 10 of the Army’s 41 recruiting battalions: Albany, N.Y.; Columbia, S.C.; Miami; Raleigh, N.C.; Cleveland; Kansas City, Mo.; Oklahoma City; Sacramento and Southern California (Mission Viejo, Calif.), and San Antonio, Texas.

However, sagging recruiting numbers have prompted the Army to expand the program to all of their recruiting locations.

So, what do recruits who agree to enlist under this program get?

Members who enlist under the National Call to Service Program will receive their choice of one of the following enlistment incentives:

  • Payment of a bonus in the amount of $5,000, payable on completion of the active duty service portion.
  • Payment in an amount not to exceed $18,000 of outstanding principal and interest on qualifying student loans. This is also payable upon completion of the active duty portion.
  • An "Education Allowance" which is equal to Full Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) , Education Rates for up to 12 months of education (which currently equates to $816 per month for 12 months of full-time education).
  • An "Education Allowance" which is equal to 1/2 Monthly GI Bill Benefits for up to 36 months of education (which currently equates to $408 per month for 36 months of full-time education).

Note: Recruits who enlist under the National Call to Service program are not eligible for the MGIB, unless they later reenlist for two or more additional years.

Recruits will be required to stipulate in the enlistment contract which of the above incentives they will receive.

MOSs in program

The 15-month-plus enlistment option is available for the following military occupational specialties:

11X Infantry
13B Cannon Crewmember
13D Field Artillery Automated Tactical Data Systems Specialist
13F Fire Support Specialist
13M Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Crewmember
13P MLRS Automated Tactical Data Systems Specialist
13S Field Artillery Surveyor
13W Field Artillery Meteorological Crewmember
15Q Air Traffic Controller
15R AH-64 Attack Helicopter Repairer
15T UH-60 Helicopter Repairer
15U CH-47 Helicopter Repairer
19D Cavalry Scout
19K Armor Crewman
21B Combat Engineer
21C Bridge Crewmember
21E Heavy Construction Equipment Operator
21F Crane Operator
21J General Construction Equipment Operator
21K Plumber
21L Lithographer
21M Firefighter
21R Interior Electrician
21S Topographic Surveyor
21T Technical Engineer
21U Topographic Analyst
21V Construction and Asphalt Equipment Operator
21W Carpentry and Masonry Specialist
25L Cable Systems Installer-Maintainer
31B Military Police
31E Internment and Resettlement Specialist
42A Personnel Administration Specialist
42L Administrative Specialist
44C Financial Management Technician
45B Small Arms/Artillery Repairer
52C Utilities Equipment Repairer-Heating and AC
52D Power Generation Equipment Repairer
56M Chaplain Assistant
63B Light Wheel Vehicle Mechanic
74D Chemical Operations Specialist
88H Cargo Specialist
88M Motor Transport Operator
88N Transportation Management Coordinator
89B Ammunition Specialist
91E Dental Specialist
91G Patient Administration Specialist
91Q Pharmacy Specialist
91R Veterinary Food Inspection Specialist
91S Preventive Medicine Specialist
91T Animal Care Specialist
91W Health Care Specialist
92A Automated Logistical Specialist
92F Petroleum Supply Specialist
92G Food Service Operations
92M Mortuary Affairs Specialist
92S Laundry and Textile Specialist
92W Water Treatment Specialist
92Y Unit Supply Specialist
96R Ground Surveillance Systems Operator