Soldiers in the Army National Guard have the benefit of a flexible schedule and the ability to serve part-time. In some cases, however, soldiers may wish to join the active duty Army and go into the service full-time. Transferring from the ARNG to active duty isn't necessarily a straightforward process. Although both organizations are part of the Army organization, they operate separately and, for administrative purposes, are two separate branches. Thus, to transfer from one to the other, soldiers in the Army National Guard will need to secure a release from their original service commitment.

Obtain a copy of the Department of Defense's DD Form 368 (see Resources). This form is the starting point to gaining a conditional release from the Army National Guard to allow for enlistment on active duty.

Fill out Section I of the DD Form 368, signing it in block 3D. This should be done while working with an active duty Army recruiter or other authority.

Wait while the active duty Army forwards the DD Form 368 to the Army National Guard for approval or rejection. Once the ARNG receives the form, they have 30 days to respond to the request according to DoD Instruction 1205.19. Note that the active duty Army cannot enlist a soldier who is currently in the ARNG if he has not been granted a conditional release.

Begin enlistment in the active duty Army as a prior-service candidate, if approved for a conditional release. Soldiers approved will see a checkmark next to the "approved" box in Section II of the DD Form 368. This release is good for a limited amount of time that the soldier can use to enlist on active duty. The expiration date of the release is listed in box 5A next to the entry for approval.

Complete enlistment on active duty and swear in. The recruiter, meanwhile, will fill out Section III of the DD Form 368 and forward it back to the Army National Guard in order to verify that enlistment was successful within the time frame of the release.


  • Be patient. The process of gaining a conditional release can be lengthy and time-consuming as the forms shuffle back and forth.


  • Conditional releases are issued at the full discretion of the Army National Guard and by no means are required to be approved. If rejected, the ARNG will send the DD Form 368 back with the "rejected" box checked and the reason for rejection noted in the comments box of Section IV. Note that if the ARNG is short staffed in a certain career field or is reluctant to give a particular type of soldier up, a request for a conditional release will almost surely be denied.