The Benevolent Savant Soup Chef thinks it is too easy to earn IRR points…

Recently I caught wind of the below message from Commander, Navy Reserve Force (CONAVRESFOR) (H/T to the AirWarriors Forum).

To summarize: Big Navy and/or Big Navy Reserve initiate this Goat Rodeo every few years or so when they decide that it is too easy for Navy Individual Ready Reservists (IRR) to earn retirement credit points through correspondence courses.  I recall a major Kaibosh put on NKO courses about 5 or 6 years ago, which created a similar panic through the IRR.

Can’t say I didn’t see this one coming.  At this same time last year, I alerted you all to the fact that COMNAVRESFOR made it darn near impossible to earn IRR retirement points – unless you are a DoD employee with a Common Access Card (CAC).  In the same move, COMNAVRESFOR also made it impossible for CAC-Challenged Reservists to monitor their retirement point progress online.

Hey, I get it.  It’s expensive for Big Navy to spend money on future retirement benefits in order to maintain a pool of mid-grade Navy Officers and Enlisted who are essentially kept as a strategic ‘surge volume’ for the Army.  Big Navy is using every administrative tool at his disposal (Fitness Assessments, Sobriety Policies) to thin out the active duty ranks.  There’s no reason to expect a different attitude towards the Navy’s Reserve.

…but the tone and content of the message is rather heavy-handed.  There’s no definition of ‘These courses are Kosher, Those Courses are Bad’, and there’s no publicly accessible FAQ page (the ‘’ links are- Once Again- Only accessible to DoD employees with CAC cards).

Mark my words- We Navy IRR Reservists will Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.  We’ve worked hard to earn our retirement benefits, and we will find a way to navigate the new obstacles placed between us and our retirement goals.  

Oh, and I’ll be busy grinding out my points over the next month… expect the blog posting to dip a bit.

In the meantime, feel free to discuss amongst yourselves…

Here’s the actual message:


R 191101Z AUG 14
RMKS/1. The ability for Reserve Component (RC) personnel to receive retirement points for voluntary completion of correspondence courses is an important aspect of the Navy?s Total Force Continuum of Service concept. It enables the Navy to retain personnel with strategically valuable skills, expands the flexible service options for those unable to conduct regular drills due to short-term conflicts, and provides a method for crediting completion of electronically available training. To ensure the process for authorizing, auditing, and awarding of retirement points is compliant with DOD Instruction 1215.07, the following changes will go into effect 1 October 2014.
2. Commander, Navy Personnel Command (CNPC) has advised that they will cease automated crediting of retirement points for correspondence courses completed through Navy Knowledge Online, the Naval Education and Training Command non-resident training course website, and any other system which automatically awards retirement points for completion of electronically delivered training, effective 1 October 2014.
3. Non-pay retirement points for completion of correspondence courses shall be credited at the rate of one point per 4 hours of instruction. Courses which contain less than 4 hours of instruction are not eligible for retirement point credit. Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command (COMNAVRESFORCOM) (N7) will maintain an Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) approved list of authorized courses. These courses will be posted to the Navy Reserve Homeport
default.aspx. If a course is not currently listed on the master course listing, it may be submitted to COMNAVRESFORCOM (N7) for routing to and possible approval by ASN for addition to the master list.
4. Awarding authorities will ensure the course of instruction is included on the list of authorized courses and provides such military value that it will enhance the individual RC Sailor?s professional development through:
a. Broadening their qualifications for duties to which they may be expected to perform upon mobilization, or b. Broadening their knowledge of the qualifications of those whose work they may supervise.
c. Sailors currently enrolled in correspondence courses not meeting the above criteria will have until 1 October 2014 to complete the course and receive credit. Such courses completed after
1 October 2014 will not be honored.
5. Authorizing and awarding authorities for completion of correspondence courses for retirement point credit are:
a. Navy Operational Support Center (NAVOPSPTCEN) Commanding Officer or designated representative is responsible for Selected Reservists
(SELRES) assigned to the Operational Support Unit and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) members of the Voluntary Training Unit and Voluntary Participation Unit, and b. Navy Reserve Unit Commanding Officer (which includes
squadrons) or designated representative for assigned SELRES, and c. PERS-912 for members of the IRR – Active Status Pool (IRR-ASP), and Standby Reserve-Active (USNR-S1), and d. PERS-912 for all Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit. CME courses are reviewed and approved by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) prior to PERS-912 crediting.
e. COMNAVRESFORCOM (N14) for Strategic Sealift Officers assigned to the Strategic Sealift Readiness Group (RUIC 2525N).
6. Navy Reserve Activities (NRA) will complete and ensure the following procedures are met when processing correspondence courses for retirement points:
a. Follow procedures outlined in the NSIPS tutorial located at:
b. Ensure the Sailor receives prior approval from Commanding Officer or designated representative to enroll in and receive credit for the applicable correspondence courses via NAVPERS 1336/3, Special Request/Authorization.
c. Ensure the Sailor signs a NAVPERS 1070/613, Administrative Remarks, indicating their understanding that they may not receive retirement points for concurrent activities. Accordingly, they cannot be awarded retirement points for correspondence courses completed while in an Active or Inactive duty status, for which retirement point credit is awarded, such as Inactive Duty Training, Inactive Duty Training Travel, Inactive Duty, Additional Training Period, Additional Flying and Flight Training Period, Readiness Management Period, Annual Training, Active Duty for Training, Active Duty for Special Work, Definite Recall, or Mobilization.
d. Ensure the Sailor provides the NRA with a copy of the approved NAVPERS 1336/3 and course certificate of completion.
e. The NRA will verify the correspondence course is on the ASN approved list and that the member was not performing Inactive or Active service at the time of course completion prior to making the NSIPS entry.
7. Non-drilling IRR Sailors can fax or mail certificates of completion to PERS-912. Once sent, allow 60 days for the points to post to the online record. Certificates can be faxed to
(901)874-7044 or mailed to Navy Personnel Command, PERS-912, 5720 Integrity Drive, Millington, TN 38055. To confirm receipt or to answer questions concerning the crediting of courses call NPC Customer Service at 1-866-827-5672.
8. Credit for courses must be entered within 12 months of the completion date. All courses with completion dates outside of 12 months must be entered by PERS-912. The applicable approval authority must provide an approval endorsement with the completion certificate and forward it to PERS-912.
9. Further information can be found on the COMNAVRESFORCOM (N7) website at:
10. Released by VADM R. R. Braun, Commander, Navy Reserve Force.// BT



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52 thoughts on “COMNAVRESFOR to IRR: No Soup for You

  1. I waited until October 4 (did not know about the policy and was not awarded my points in the IRR). I need points for the last two years of my contract. How do you get them now with no courses. Please Help!!

    • Tom –

      If you don’t want to do correspondence courses, you’ll likely have to join a local VTU and drill without pay. There are some other ‘cats and dogs’ ways to earn IRR points, but correspondence courses or VTU drills make up the majority of the opportunities to earn retirement credit outside of paid drilling.

  2. I downloaded the list of approved courses but I have no idea where to log in and get them. Nice of them to do this to us in our 19th year.

  3. Tim…I’m in the same boat. I have to find points for this year and next year. I had my courses done for this year but they didn’t count under the new system. I have been doing some emergency management courses under the FEMA website. I might look at DAU courses but I think you may need a cac to gain access. If you leave a contact number or email, I would be glad to help you out.

  4. Gubmints….I’ve been trying to scratch out some points listed on the NYC website. I created an account for joint forces online (no cac needed). However, a lot of the courses the navy said you would get credit for are no longer listed. I’ve also been doing some FEMA courses. I might try to go onto defense acquisition university, but I think you may need a cac card. The navy is trying to make it impossible to retire from irr.

  5. I had a date of April 2015 for retirement. I need 20 points.
    will have to move it back. I am needing a site that I can actually
    accrual points, with out a CAC card.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. I am in the same boat as the rest of you in trying to obtain points for this year and next year. Thank you to GubMints for discussing this matter and providing for a dialogue on how we can get through this. I am checking the FEMA website at: to see if I can quickly get courses completed through there. I don’t think there are enough points through them for next year though.

  7. Hey guys, obviously same boat as everyone to the tune of losing a few years at this point because of the retirement point issues. Can I get that list of courses, websites, etc? This is damn near impossible. And does anyone know how many points you get for the FEMA courses? I’m just doing as many of those as I can. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


  8. GubMints,

    Thanks for all the info. Are FEMA Courses good to go for retirement point credit? There are different point values on the ASN approved list for different courses (1, 2, 2, 7, 12, etc.) Are these credited at face value? Thanks!

  9. I can not see any reason in this policy other than harassing the IRR, VTU and/or SELRES who may want some extra retirement points.

  10. I have a CD with CNET approved courses: some maybe dated. I also have 4 or 5 courses in book format. All the question sections are included. If it would help anyone to have these courses, I will be happy to try to get them to you. I am in Virginia.

  11. I am in the same boat as everyone here, also. CNET courses are not approved anymore, apparently. I guess the FEMA courses will have to do. I am awaiting approval from Joint Knowledge Online (also approved courses).

  12. Did any of you get a chance to see the upcoming changes starting 1 June 2015? the courses will be specific to our designator and or rates!!

  13. I strongly urge you all to contact your Federal Representative on this one, I have a Congressional Inquiry on going at the moment. NETPDTC, The folks that send out the NRTC Manuals were told they were going to be added to this list and it hasn’t happened. I received a copy of the posting from the IRR counselors that COMNAVRESFOR put out on the Navy Reserve Homeport web page that states they were GOING to add the NRTC manuals on the 1 June 2015 approved course list. If you’ve looked over this approved list put out you will notice that the IRR has VERY limited options due to, CAC requirements for at least two of the approved options, NPS is not an option for IRR members, dau IS FOR ONLY acquisition field of training( which doesn’t exist on the guide by the way), DCAA is for their employees only according to the list,…anyway you get my point. I have had long conversations with the Director at pers-93, Irr counselors, and Navy Education Training Professional Development Technology Center (NETPDTC), they put out the NRTC Manuals and it reaffirms my belief that we all need to urge our Congressional Representative to investigate this one. We don’t have CAC, we don’t have the same opportunities to complete these courses as SELRES or other Government employees do. Yes,we can do the FEMA or JKO courses but if you’ve dealt with the JKO people they are not user friendly. FEMA may be an alternative but I see very limited value in their courses.

    • He also does not return calls. No one can tell me how to help them choose the NRTC courses to approve… I have several that I downloaded to complete and now have no reason to enter them into the system for them not to count. So frustrating and disappointing they are doing this to IRR members… All of which have served their time and NOW they are changing the game while we are not on the playing field. This is just an abuse of power.

  14. Notice that they dropped the 1 June 2015 list and went back to the September 2014 list. Operation Goat rodeo is well underway.

  15. I did a request for approval of 60++ points that I had completed via NRTC before I
    was aware of the change in policy. Had the Representative do an inquiry trying to have those points approved. N7 denied approval of any NRTC and made a very diplomatic response to the Representative. My only gratification is, I know I created paperwork for someone high up in the food chain. I have been in the Navy for 30++++ years and I have seen changes I liked and mostly ones I didn’t like. This policy change was in a manner that reflects “They eat there own” attitude.

  16. What was the answer as to WHY the NAVY does not accept their own NAVY Non-Resident Training Courses? This should serve as an indictment on the NAVY system; we need to get points from OTHER services because their course are better?

    • Mary –

      I’m largely in agreement w/ your assessment. Big Navy is trying to trim its ranks – Throughout the ranks of Active, SELRES, and in our case IRR reservists. My advice is to keep posted on the latest IRR current events using the Air Warriors forums and get your points sooner rather than later.

  17. I have 10 years of service (6 active duty, 4 Selres) and am interested in transfering to the IRR to finish my last 10 years.

    This may be a silly question but i searched around and couldn’t find an answer.

    Are you allowed to redo the same courses every year? I’m assuming the answer is yes but didn’t see that explicitly stated anywhere. It looks like the only two realistic options are FEMA and JKO (per the IRR Counselor) and there are a fairly limited number of courses available on there so I’m hoping the courses are repeatable. Thanks for any assistance.

    • Jeff –

      You’re right about FEMA and JKO courses being the only crumbs left to gather up for correspondence points in the IRR. Probably 2-4 years’ worth of points are available – NOT LIKELY 10 YEARS’ WORTH. Check the Air Warriors forums for more info. Best of Luck!

      • I was over on the Air Warriors website as well. It looks like the only other potential option is the JPME courses which will get me another 3 years. I am a bit disappointed they are slamming all of these doors for IRR sailors who want to stay in the Navy in a small (but potentially very important) way.

        I will have a total of 12 years when my Selres contract is up in Sept 2017. I guess I will have to make some very serious and difficult decisions in regards to my Navy career if things in the IRR don’t change. I do not really have time to do the Selres due to my civilian career so I guess I will be watching this closely to see what comes of it all.

        Thank you for the assistance.

  18. I am in the same boat as most of you. My anniversary is in Jan and I need 35 points for 20 yrs. I looked at the Dau and Fema website. How do enroll in these courses. It is very difficult and frustrating at the same time. PLEASE HELP!!

    • Apply for FEMA on the FEMA website.

      DAU is all but off-limits unless you have a CAC card AND are in an Acquisition billet in the Reserves.

  19. W Davis, definitely go with FEMA courses in your case, the web site is ok. It is more user friendly than any other option available. I did 80 points WITH the FEMA in less than a month.I worked for the NAVAL WAR COLLEGE Seminar program on ADTs and ATs in my selres life, these courses are for people who really enjoy graduate level work and nothing more. I am concluding my 15 years of active duty,10 years Selres, and 12 years IRR service, retiring due attrition. The manner in which the policy change took place, with regards to correspondence courses for retirement points, goes against everything I was ever taught in the Navy.

  20. How nice of them to come out with a new list with the NRTCs on them again. Talk about them make things difficult. Now my NRTCs count.

  21. False alarm on my part. The NRTCs are rate specific for retirement points on the OCT 2015 spreadsheet, as stated down at the bottom of the list.

  22. Sorry if this has been posted else where but I just saw the new point spreadsheet and it has NRTC courses on it. Where do we go to complete those courses and do you need a CAC in order to do them?

    Thanks for the assistance.

  23. I am wondering if anyone noticed how “non-Navy” some of the JKO courses on the approved list were? I mean really…Army Workload Performance System. I have a difficult time seeing where this course makes a better more prepared reservist than doing NRTC courses. Don’t get me wrong I knocked all those out as soon as I could but come on did anyone really look at this list before they released it.

  24. Not sure if anyone is still following this. I’m actually a VTU sailor drilling for points and engaging in ADT orders. I need three years to retire. What’s getting me is the program I’m affiliated with has many ADT missions for me, which has me traveling often. I don’t mind this as my employer is good about my military leave periods, and at least I’m getting paid for this time. However, I’m told I still need 40 of 48 unpaid drill periods a year, irregardless of how much ADT time I’m doing, to qualify for a good year towards retirement. This is a real challenge to be at the Reserve Center on the weekends on months when I’m traveling extensively. Didn’t have this problem before being forced to VTU due to HYT, as I’d engage in multiple IDTT missions a year that took care of my drills. Any thoughts in this regard? I’m not sure why all points are not considered equal (those accumulated while on ADT orders and those accumulated on Drill Weekends)

  25. Chris,
    A possible solution is to use IDTTs before and after your ADTs. I’ve done this in the past and it has worked for me well. I located a reserve unit where I completed my IDTTs at the location of the ATs/ADTs and as I said it worked for me.Unfortunately the environment in the Military has gone from a “We take care of our own”, to one that is sink or swim. There use to be a lot of talk when I was a Selres about flex drilling that was a possible solution where no drilling units existed, using IDTT again before and after an AT/ADT to get the drill points, today who knows. Most of the things I’ve mentioned above, I found out on my own with little or no help from the then Naval Reserve Center/NOSC, in other words I had to fight the TARs to get the orders. Good luck.

    • Thanks so much. Unfortunately, being in an IRR\VTU status, I’m not sure this is an option for me. I was only booted to the IRR and affiliated with VTU last September. So I’m still trying to figure things out. When I was a SELRES, I used IDTT as a means to meet my Drill Requirements yearly. Worked quite well. But now that I’m in the IRR and affiliated with VTU, I’m not sure this is an option because my ADT always involves travel, and it’s unlikely they would allow me to set my travel dates outside of the dates on the ADT orders. In fact, I’m certain of this as I’ve tried to configure travel in DTS outside of the dates on orders and it’s always been rejected. IDTT isn’t an option for IRR\VTU members that I am aware of.

      I’ll get it figured out. I was told this morning that for SELRES and IRR\VTU, CNRFC requires 40 drill periods completed per year irrespective of what a member is doing on AT\ADT. This makes sense for SELRES as they are paid for everything, and it’s always been understood that a “good year” towards retirement was minimum 40 IDT\IDTT points and 12 days of AT. But for IRR\VTU, this doesn’t make sense as we’re not paid for IDT periods, and if we have a relationship with a program that allows us to engage in numerous days of ADT per FY, then those points should count the same as any points earned for IDT.
      If I cannot get this resolved, this may be my last year in VTU. I’ll finish out my last 1.5 – 2 years in regular IRR doing courses and ADT missions.
      Appreciate the feedback.
      Best Regards,
      Chris Thompson

  26. Reading your reply I’m trying to figure out why you would even desire to be in the VTU, I’m sure you have your reasons. As long as you are not over 20 years with a retirement eligibility letter, you can still do ADTs in the IRR, especially if there is a need for your skill and you have a command that needs your skills. If you have only a couple of years left, the FEMA courses are an option for IRR points and JKO is not too bad. The Navy continues to make it more challenging to stay in. Unless we see a Commander in Chief that wants a more robust Navy, things will continue to be harder and more challenging for those who wish to serve. There is a big difference between the Navy of today and the Navy of the 1980s, an expanding Navy is much more pleasant to serve in.

    • I so agree with your last comment. I joined the Navy in 1988, served on active duty through most of the 1990’s. You’re so correct, the Navy of today is a far cry from what it once was in so many ways. I could write a book on the subject, and it’s a sad situation.

      My anniversary month is now March of every year (was recalculated when I submitted my retirement request only to find out I wasn’t eligible yet due to some bad years as a Reservist that weren’t reflected in my point capture until I submitted my request and they figured out I had some bad years). So I’m just waiting to see the point capture update in another couple of months, and then make a decision at that point. I’m expecting to be somewhere around 17.5 – 18 good years once the point capture updates.

      Going IRR is a consideration. But I do enjoy the program I support that allows me to travel often on ADT orders. It is true, I can do ADT in IRR. However, it’s much more difficult. You have to submit request through PERS, get the gaining command to submit some sort of letter, and on and on. And I suspect that without access to DTS, travel claims are probably a nightmare.

      When I finally decide to call it quits and go IRR, I’ll probably be done with any Active Duty missions for the Navy and will simply be looking at courses to get my remaining points Until then, seems that VTU is a better option if one wants to stay engaged and still have access to resources such as having a CAC card, DTS for travel claims, NROWS for order routing and approval, etc.

      At a minimum, I’ll likely stick around until my current contract expires (early next year), and either reenlist or extend to get to my 20. Then I can consider pulling the plug and go IRR, and hopefully hold onto my CAC card to make life a bit easier when it comes to access to the correspondence courses. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

      Also, I did finally get the skinny on the whole minimum 40 drills/year that all reservist (SELRES and VTU) are required to do. It’s a NOSC inspection item, and nothing to do with points for a good year towards retirement. 50 points in an anniversary year, irrespective of where they come from, IS a good year towards retirement. However, the Reserve Centers apparently have this requirement for all reservists they manage, which means when they have their inspections they should be able to show a minimum of 40 drill periods (IDT) in a FY for each reservist. This makes it challenging for someone like me who is away on ADT missions often, but there are apparently options available to help me out in this regard.

      Thanks again for all the input and advice. Great to have these forums to bounce ideas off others in the same or similar situations.

      • Chris – Yeah it’s coming back to me now.

        When I was drilling there was a requirement to be ‘present’ for 40 pts’ worth of drill weekends or at least make them up with IDTT to reach 40 inactive paid unit drills in a year. Sounds like the VTU has a parallel ‘mandatory’ minimum drill requirement for continued VTU participation.

  27. Unfortunately that does seem to be the case, which doesn’t make sense why they would treat IRR members in VTU different from those in the ASP. I’m going to be struggling this year to reach 40 drill periods, but I’ll be close, and the leadership in the VTU unit seems flexible in making it possible for members to “flex” drill to meet this requirement.

    Thanks for all the feedback. Very grateful.


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