Transferring Between Military Branches

October 16, 2022
Transferring Between Military Branches

Your military career goals change as your personal and professional priorities and skill sets change and grow. A great way to enhance your military career is to consider job opportunities within other military branches. Although this may not necessarily be for everyone, some may welcome the change. A transfer between branches requires an early discharge from your current branch and acceptance into the new branch. When requesting the military transfer, various procedures must be followed.

When you identify the position you may want within a new branch, you may want to discuss the impending transfer with recruiters from that military branch. It is important you receive all the information they can provide such as compensation, duty expectations, promotion and advancement opportunities to see if the transfer is going to enhance your military career in the way you intend.

After you have been provided all of the essential information about the new branch and your potential new position, the next step requires a From DD 368 – Request for Conditional Release, which you can get from your commanding officer or online.

If you are in the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP) your first step is to request a DEP discharge from your current military branch. Recruiters are prohibited by regulation from actively recruiting members of other service’s DEP. Therefore, to increase your chances of the branch transfer, it is recommended that you don’t talk to a recruiter until you DEP discharge is approved.

The “Blue to Green” Program allows members of the Navy and Air Force who are currently in an over-staffed position to request early discharge, in exchange for agreeing to a 3-year active duty enlistment in the Army. Selected member of the Marines or Coast Guard who are qualified may be eligible for opportunities in the Army as well. All else considered:

  • E1 – E5 will retain their grade and same date of rank
  • All E5’s and above will have grade and Military Occupational Specialty determined by CG USAREC
  • B2G applicants are restricted to the Prior Service Business Rule, except those applying to OCS or WOFT
  • AFCSs or Rates that convert to Army MOS will attend Basic Combat Training
  • Officers will retain their grade and date of rank
  • Officers will receive branch-specific training as needed

Form DD 368

Completely fill out the form.

Send the completed form to your commanding officer. Usually before they will sign, they will sit down with you and discuss your reasoning for the transfer to ensure it is in your best interest since the action cannot be undone once completed and approved.

Bring the completed and signed Form DD 368 to a recruiter from your new military branch for their signature. Recruiters have the authority to accept voluntary request for branch transfers as long as there is written approval from your commanding officer. The recruiters signature is important since it verifies that if you are released from your current branch, the branch you are transferring to will accept you.

Once your recruiter signs your Form DD 368, take the form back to your commanding officer where it will be formally submitted and approved through the proper channels.

Keep in mind during this process, that military branches can deny the release request based on their current needs and depending on your military contract. If you are deployed or have orders to deployed, your request will not be approved. In some cases you will have to fully complete your enlistment contract, get out, and then join the different service as a prior-service recruit. The chances your current branch of service releasing you is a hassle all in itself, but be persistent and submit and resubmit the request as many times as you want.

“Changing Branches.” Military Spot. 2018.

“Corcoran, Rekekah.” “Switching Services a Good Career Move for Some.” Northwest Military. 16 Feb. 2011.

Smith, Stew. “Inter-Service Transfer Information.” The Balance Careers. 31 March 2018.

“Operation Blue to Green.” Careers & Jobs. Go Army. 2015.

“Transferring Between Military Branches to Enhance Your Military Career.” Military Hub. 2018.

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