Simultaneous Membership Program
You may be able to take advantage of a program that allows you to participate in ROTC and enlist in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve at the same time, provided a vacancy exists in either a Guard or Reserve unit.
The Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) is for individuals still in college. In the SMP, you will be paid at the rate of at least a Sergeant E-5 for your Guard or Reserve service. In addition, you’ll receive the ROTC Advanced Course allowance. You’ll serve as an officer trainee in a Guard or Reserve unit and perform duties commensurate with the grade of second lieutenant. Once you graduate and receive your commission, you may continue your military service with your Reserve or National Guard unit or go on active duty. The ROTC Contract that is agreed upon will determine a cadet status. You are considered Non-Deployable during your time as an SMP Cadet.
The intent of the SMP Program is to increase officer accessions into the Reserve Components (RC) by increasing ROTC enrollment from enlisted RC members who are attending college. In addition, contracted non-scholarship cadets and RFD scholarship cadets can join an RC unit and the SMP. Advanced Course ROTC SMP students are paid for their Guard/Reserve training and receive the ROTC allowance of $450 per month as a junior and $500 per month as a senior, as well as $1,200 per year for books. Upon completing the ROTC program, the United States Army Officer agrees to an eight-year obligation, which can be served in the Reserve Forces, on Active Duty or a combination of the two.
Because cadets participate in both guard training and ROTC at the same time, the benefits of the SMP are twofold. First, SMP cadets receive the excellent management and leadership training that ROTC offers. During the monthly training weekends, SMP cadets apply their classroom training in a “real world” military unit in the Army National Guard or U.S. Army Reserves – an opportunity unavailable to traditional ROTC scholarship cadets. Second, SMP cadets qualify for tuition assistance programs offered by both organizations simultaneously.
- ROTC stipend (tax-free subsistence allowance)
- College sophomores–$350 per month (10 months), juniors–$450 per month (10 months), seniors- $500 per month (for nine-10 months)
- The Oklahoma Army National Guard 100 percent tuition waiver (for OKARNG members)
- GI Bill (amount varies depending on previous military service status)
- Drill pay at the E-5 level prior to commissioning (about $274.84 per month) Drill pay will be commensurate to active duty rank if higher than E-5 for prior active duty soldiers.
During the school week, SMP cadets participate in all ROTC classes, labs and field training exercises. One weekend a month, they work with their assigned National Guard or Reserve units. During these weekends, SMP cadets function as assistant lieutenants. SMP cadets wear their ROTC ranks (PiPs) and carry out all the duties of a new second lieutenant in a supervised, on-the-job-training environment.
How the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) Works
- You must be a member of the Army National Guard or Reserve and have attended at least Army Basic Training (BCT);
- Be a prior service active duty soldier who completed basic training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) who is eligible to enlist in the Guard or Reserve; and,
- Ideally, you will have attended both BCT and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) before signing an SMP Contract. AIT is the phase of active duty training all Guard soldiers must go through to learn their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS). Completing AIT is important as it qualifies you for the Montgomery GI Bill benefits. Active-duty soldiers who have completed BCT and AIT do not have to attend these training events with the National Guard or Reserve.
They are eligible to enlist in the Guard or Reserve and begin the SMP immediately due to the fact that their BCT and AIT were completed on Active Duty.
The next step is to be accepted to and attend a college or university offering ROTC courses. Before beginning your junior year of college, you must complete an SMP Agreement contact (NGB Form 594-1 for Guard Soldiers or form 4824-R for USAR Soldiers) with the commander of your unit. Take your SMP contract to your school’s Army ROTC enrollment officer and ensure you begin processing with the ROTC department.
Once contracting is complete, you begin attending ROTC classes. The course takes about seven hours per week (a two-hour class, a two-hour lab and three hours of physical fitness). You can contract with the university ROTC program as early as your sophomore year in college (30 credit hours).
After the completion of Military Science (MS) III (junior year), you will attend the six week ROTC Cadet Leaders Course (CLC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, instead of your regular Guard or Reserve annual training. After LDAC, you return for your senior year and enroll in MSIV. After graduation, you will receive your commission as a second lieutenant and still have the option of serving on active duty, in the Guard or Reserve, as an officer.
Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty
Prior to contracting with ROTC and SMP status, a soldier can apply for a Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) contract through the ROTC department. GRFD status is mandatory for cadet with an Army National Guard or USAR scholarship. These cadets are required to serve in the National Guard or Reserve after graduation and commissioning.
SMP GI Bill Kicker
The National Guard needs young officers. Therefore, as an incentive, the Army National Guard offers a special Montgomery GI Bill Kicker of $350 a month. Only cadets eligible to receive the Montgomery GI Bill can apply for this special kicker. The GRFD Kicker pays $350 a month in addition to the Montgomery GI Bill benefits, worth $386. (National Guard GI Bill) a month or over $1,000 (Active Duty GI Bill ) a month. If you were a guard member and had an original $200 a month or even no GI Bill kicker, you are eligible for this once you SMP Contract. The U.S. Army Reserves offers federal tuition assistance to help offset costs and is available one year after completion of AIT.