Transitioning to the Navy Reserve

U.S. Navy Sailors performing ship maintenance.


As a Reserve Sailor, your service fits around your civilian and professional life, while still giving you the Navy benefits, camaraderie and culture you enjoy as an Active Duty Sailor. With the ability to live anywhere you want and serve on your schedule, transitioning from Active Duty to Reserve combines everything you love about the Navy with everything you love about your civilian life.

Why would someone transition from Active Duty to Reserve?

Lifestyle & Flexibility

As a Reserve Sailor, you drill one weekend a month and attend annual training for two weeks each year. Your service works around your civilian schedule, so you can live anywhere you want while serving in a location convenient to you.

Selected Reserve vs. Individual Ready Reserve

SELRES: Selected Reserve

Sailors must affiliate with the SELRES if they have served less than six years of Active Duty service. Once a Sailor has completed a combined six years of Active Duty and SELRES service, they may be transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve for two years for the remainder of their military service obligation (MSO). Responsibilities of a Selected Reserve (SELRES) member include completing the one weekend of drilling per month and two weeks of Annual Training (AT) each anniversary year. A Sailor’s first year in the SELRES will be prorated based on the time of year when affiliation is completed. Some commands may offer alternative drilling options.

IRR: Individual Ready Reserve

The Navy’s Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) is made up of both Sailors who still need to meet their contracted MSO obligation and those who have met MSO requirements but volunteer to serve with IRR status.

Complete your eight years by joining the Reserve

All new enlistment and commissioning contracts executed on or after October 1, 2020, include the minimum four years Active Duty (AD), followed by up to two years of SELRES service and two years of Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) service to satisfy the eight-year MSO. Navy Veterans who affiliate with SELRES within six months of separation are granted a two-year involuntary mobilization deferment.

Active Duty Transition Policy

Any portion of a Sailor’s eight-year MSO that is not completed on Active Duty or Active Duty for Training (ADT) must be completed in the Reserve. Any Sailor who entered into a service contract on or after October 1, 2020, who is separating from Active Duty with less than six years time in service (TIS) is required to fulfill SELRES service as determined by the needs of the Navy. After completion of six years TIS, Sailors may be transitioned to the IRR to serve the remainder of their eight-year MSO. 

SELRES quota requests will be automatically generated in the Career Waypoints (CWAY) System for adjudication by Reserve Community Managers based upon the needs of the Navy. The quotas will be generated monthly from T-10 months to T-4 months to the Sailor’s EAOS/SEAOS to determine if SELRES service will be required. All members with an approved quota will be contacted by PERS-9 Reserve Processing and Affiliation Center (RPAC) regarding their SELRES affiliation. Sailors with more than six years TIS are still highly encouraged to affiliate with the SELRES via CWAY but are not required to do so.

Process for Joining the Reserve

Contact your Command Career Counselor for CWAY submission for a reserve billet or contact 1-800-USA-NAVY to be connected to your local prior service recruiter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my rate be affected?

Sailors whose rating is not available in the Selected Reserve are not required to affiliate with the SELRES and may transition directly to the IRR. If a Sailor in this category wishes to affiliate with the SELRES, he or she may request a rating conversion to an available rating. Command Career Counselors (CCC) ensure that Sailors are counseled at the earliest opportunity on future service options, and potential SELRES obligations, benefits and entitlements. Visit MyNavyHR for enlisted rating information and to review a list of current ratings within the SELRES.

What’s the pay?

Upon joining the Navy Reserve after completion of Active Duty service, a servicemember’s Navy Reserve pay is typically the same pay grade he or she previously held. If a Reserve Sailor transitions to Active Duty, he or she is paid four days of active pay for just two days of work. Learn more about Navy Reserve benefits and pay here.

Is there an age limit?

The age limit for Navy Reserve servicemembers is 42 years old, or able to complete 20 years of service by age 62. Find out more information about Navy Reserve requirements here.

Will I be subject to Involuntary Mobilization while in the SELRES?

As a Reservist, you can be mobilized voluntarily and involuntarily. Upon initially joining the Reserve, you are granted a two-year mobilization deferment from being mobilized involuntarily. If you choose to, you can volunteer for a mobilization within those first two years.

What about the TSR Pilot Program?

Certain rates and designators in the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) community entitles you to an additional transition assistance program not available to other service members. This benefit is funded by the National Security Agency (NSA) and contracts HireMilitary to provide the services. A two-year SELRES affiliation is required to access this benefit.

Tailored Strategic Retention (TSR) is a program to incentivize retention of qualified and experienced Cyber Mission Force (CMF) Total Force service members. TSR supports Active Component to Reserve Component (AC2RC) affiliations by offering members transition and employment services in industry in exchange for two-year Selected Reserve or National Guard obligations in their respective service branch.

Delivered by HireMilitary, TSR services include job placement, resume writing, salary negotiation, interview preparation and one-on-one coaching and professional networking with over 40 industry partners. TSR also provides academic counseling and degree opportunities with various universities. By using the HireMilitary services, veterans have seen an increased level of pay and job stability compared to other service members.

Qualified Designators: 1810, 1820, 1830 and 1880

Qualified Rates: Cyber Warfare Technician (CWT), Information Systems Technician (IT) and Intelligence Specialists (IS)

While only a two-year commitment is required, a three-year SELRES commitment will qualify you for a $20,000 enlistment bonus for FY-24.

For more detailed information about the services HireMilitary will provide, contact [email protected] or 646-360-0695.

Start the process by contacting your CCC and request a CWAY billet for the Reserves. If for any reason you are not able to secure a CWAY billet, contact Navy Recruiting Reserve Command at either [email protected] or [email protected].

Have additional questions?

For general questions, Sailors should contact their CCC or the Navy Call Center at 1-800-USA-NAVY. Enlisted Sailors can also email at [email protected] and Officers at [email protected].

For specific rate/rating questions and concerns regarding SELRES service, Sailors should contact the respective Reserve community manager.

For questions related to reserve benefits and affiliation, Sailors should contact the Navy Recruiting Reserve Command (NRRC) Outreach Team at [email protected] or the Navy Call Center at 1-800-USA-NAVY.

For SELRES transition assistance, Sailors should contact the PERS-9 RPAC at [email protected].

Download additional information here.

Getting Started

For general career questions, Sailors should contact their Command Career Counselors or the Navy Call Center at 1-800-USA-NAVY.


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