Bar to Reenlistment


a. A bar is an administrative action which prevents a soldier from serving in the Active Army beyond ETS.

b. A bar is initiated when a soldier does not measure up to the high moral character, personal competence, and demonstrated adaptability required for reenlistment, but immediate separation from the service is not considered warranted. The bar is intended to put the soldier on notice that he/she is not a candidate for reenlistment, and that he/she may be a candidate for separation (if the circumstances which led to the bar are not overcome).

c. Army Regulation (AR) 601-280, Chapter 8 is the controlling regulation. You should be aware that this regulation might be supplemented locally. In any event, check at your local MOS Library.


a. Soldiers should be evaluated under the “whole person” concept as set forth in AR 601-280, paragraph 3-7. Factors considered in this concept include patterns of disciplinary incidents, recent conduct and performance, aptitude, and potential for future service.

b. Normally, bars will be initiated on soldiers who are:

(1) UNTRAINABLE. These are soldiers who cannot perform the basic tasks of their PMOS. Examples include failure to achieve individual weapons qualification, failure to pass the APFT, and substandard evaluation results.

(2) UNSUITABLE. These are soldiers who have aptitude for continued service, but demonstrate a lack of desire or interest in meeting reenlistment standards. Examples of unsuitable conduct are: substandard personal appearance or hygiene, debt/financial problems, Article 15 punishments, shirking duties, apathy, frequent difficulties with fellow soldiers, and causing trouble in the civilian community.

(3) SINGLE SOLDIERS/IN-SERVICE COUPLES WITH DEPENDENT FAMILY MEMBERS. These are soldiers who fail to file approved family member care plans as described in AR 600-20, Chapter 5.


The bar can be initiated by any commander in the soldier’s chain of command. Normally, it will be initiated by the company, battery, troop or detachment-level commander.


a. The bar is initiated by preparing DA Form 4126-R, Bar to Reenlistment Certificate. The commander must include on the form his basis for initiating the action, the number and dates of any courts-martial and Article 15 punishments, and total active service computed as of the date of the initiation of the bar.

b. The form is then referred to the soldier. The soldier should be provided all the paperwork that constitutes the basis of the bar (e.g., counseling statements, statement of third parties, investigative reports). The soldier has seven days to respond. The soldier may attach relevant documents (e.g., letters of commendation, witness statements, investigative reports, etc.) to the response. An extension may be granted by the commander who initiated the bar.

c. The form along with the soldier’s response are then forwarded through the chain of command to the approving authority. Each commander must personally endorse the bar certificate. Any commander who does not believe that the bar is warranted may disapprove the action and return it to the initiating commander.

d. The approval authority is determined by the soldier’s total active service as of the bar initiation date.

(1) Less than 10 years Federal service: the first commander in the rank of LTC or above, in the soldier’s normal chain of command or the commander exercising Special Court-Martial Convening Authority (whichever is in the most direct line to the soldier);

(2) 10 to 18 years of active Federal service, those with more than 20 years of active Federal service, and those where action is taken to extend the soldier to complete 20 years of active Federal service: the first general officer in the soldier’s chain of command, or the commander exercising General Court-Martial Convening Authority, whichever is in the most direct line to the soldier;

(3) 18 years of active Federal service but less than 20 years of active Federal service and who are not extended to attain retirement eligibility: HQDA. Those bars are forwarded to the Commander, U.S. Army Enlistment Eligibility Activity, in St. Louis.

e. The commander initiating a bar may not approve it. If the initiating commander normally would be an approving authority, then the next level approving authority must act on the bar. For example, a bar initiated by an 0-5 commander must be approved by a general officer (or General Court-Martial Convening Authority, as appropriate).

f. Once approved, the bar certificate will be placed in the soldier’s personnel records, and the remark “not recommended for further service” entered on his/her DA Form 2-1.


a. In most cases, yes. A soldier normally has seven days from the date he/she is informed that the bar has been approved to submit a written appeal. The commander who initiated the bar may grant an extension. The appellate authority is the next superior commander (that is, the next higher approval authority). Appeals are submitted to the initiating commander and forwarded with endorsements through the chain of command.

b. If the barred soldier has less than 10 years of active Federal service at ETS, the approval/disapproval authority is the first general officer in the soldier’s normal chain of command, or the commander exercising GCMCA, whichever is in the most direct line of the soldier.

c. If the barred soldier has more than 10 years of active Federal service at ETS, the approval/disapproval authority is the Commander, U. S. Army Enlistment Eligibility Activity (USAEEA).

d. Bars to reenlistment approved by the Commander, USAEEA, may not be appealed.


a. When the certificate is approved, the custodian of the soldier’s personnel records will place a signed copy in the soldier’s MPRJ where it will remain permanently. The remark “not recommended for further service” will be entered on the soldier’s DA Form 2-1.

b. Approved bars will be reviewed by the soldier’s unit commander at least each three months and 30 days before the soldier’s scheduled departure from the unit or ETS.

c. If the unit commander feels the bar should remain in effect, he will notify the custodian of the soldier’s records who will note the following on the soldier’s DA Form 2-1: “Bar to reenlistment reviewed; not recommended for removal, (date).” The soldier will be notified of the review and the decision of the commander.

d. If the unit commander feels that bar should be lifted, he/she will prepare a recommendation and forward it through the chain of command to the commander who approved the bar. That commander may order it withdrawn. If withdrawn, the certificate will be removed from the MPRJ, remarks on the DA Form 2-1 deleted, and the soldier will be permitted to reenlist, if otherwise qualified.

e. If the commander does not recommend removal after the second three– month review, he or she will initiate separation action under AR 635-200. There is an exception to this rule for soldiers who have more than 18 years active Federal Service and will have 20 or more years of service at ETS. These soldiers may be allowed to remain on active duty until retirement eligibility is attained.


a. The fact that a soldier has served honorably for a number of years does not preclude his commander from initiating a bar, if otherwise appropriate.

b. Separation actions may be initiated regardless of whether a bar has been imposed.

c. A bar may be initiated even though the soldier was considered for administrative separation and retained.

d. Normally, bars should not be initiated against a soldier who has been in a unit less than 90 days or who is in the last 30 days before a PCS or ETS. When bars are initiated during these periods, commanders must prepare a certificate explaining the timing of the action.

e. Soldiers who believe that they cannot overcome a bar may apply for voluntary separation under the provisions of AR 635-200, paragraph 16-5. This option, however, is not available to first-term soldiers.

f. Questions or assistance in drafting a response to a bar action should be directed to your legal assistance office. A legal assistance attorney can help you at no cost to you. Prior to your appointment with a legal assistance attorney, prepare a rough draft of your rebuttal. This will help the legal assistance attorney in preparing your rebuttal.