Army National Call to Service (NCS) Enlistments

L.E.D. banner of American Flag 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).

What Does the NCS Mean for You?

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.

What Are the Benefits of the NCS?

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