Commentary | Sept. 2, 2021

Reserve officer active duty integration explained

By Lt. William Singletary, operations officer Coast Guard Cutter Eagle

Although the answer is relatively simple of how a "traditional" drilling reserve officer integrates into active duty, the path to integration is the road less traveled. 

There are four types of commissions. Only graduates from the Coast Guard Academy are “permanent,” or regular commissioned officers, as ensigns. All other commissioning sources must integrate while on the active duty promotion list (ADPL) to achieve the status as permanent regular officers.

Four types of commissions:

  • Regular commissioned officers, aka “permanent” commissioned officers (ADPL)
    • Source: Coast Guard Academy
  • Temporary regular officers (ADPL)
    • Source: Officer Candidate School- Temporary Commission
  • Reserve officers (ADPL)
    • Source: Officer Candidate School- Reserve Commission, Direct Commission Programs, Maritime Academy Graduate Program and College Student Pre-Commissioning Initiative.
  • Traditional reserve officers (inactive duty promotion list- IDPL)
    • Source: Selected Reserve Direct Commission Program, Direct Commission Physician Assistant Selected Reserve and Direct Commission Lawyer Selected Reserve.

How does this apply to traditional reserve officers on the IDPL? 

Simply enough, a traditional reserve officer must be on the ADPL and selected for promotion by a “best-qualified board” to be offered integration. The first best-qualified board is for lieutenant (O-3), and applies to every board thereafter. Once selected for promotion via a best-qualified board, the service expects that the officer possesses the potential and skills for long-term active service and would become eligible to integrate as permanent regular officers.

How do I get on the ADPL? 

Once an officer is selected for active duty and signs an Active Duty Agreement for Extended Active Duty (EAD) orders, they become part of the ADPL. A solicitation comes out each year around April via ALCGOFF that lists assignment opportunities for EAD, which is often used when the active duty corps experiences shortages in critical competency areas. EAD opportunities are balanced against approved accession numbers and are therefore limited. Effective the date the EAD agreement commences, officers accepting an EAD agreement will be removed from the IDPL and placed on the ADPL according to grade and date of rank. The member will then compete for promotion on the ADPL when eligible and in-zone. Note: This does not apply to being a reservist activated for Title 10 or Title 14 orders. 

Are there any additional integration requirements?

  • You must comply with the max allowable weigh standards at the time of the administration of the oath of office for integration
  • You must not be subject of or party to a pending investigation which could result in adverse action against the officer, nor accused pending proceedings under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, nor the subject of a pending administrative board for possible separation.
  • Have completed two years’ continuous active Coast Guard duty (as of 1 March following selection by the best-qualified promotion board) during the current active duty period.
  • Have been selected for promotion by any ADPL board under the best-qualified selection system.

In short, one must be currently serving on EAD orders (moving you to the ADPL) and be selected for promotion as an O-3 or above. Once selected to promote on the ADPL, you will be offered the opportunity to integrate.

For additional information, you can check out Officer Accessions, Evaluations, and Promotions, COMDTINST M1000.3