Counting service academy time


Q: Is the time spent at a service academy creditable for civilian retirement if the employee did not graduate? There has always been an assumption that if the individual did not graduate from the academy that the time was not creditable for civilian retirement purposes. Nowhere can a reference be located with a mention of graduating.

I’ve exhausted just about every reference possible and the closest thing that I can find is Section 1115 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which authorizes federal employees to receive retirement “credit for service as a cadet or midshipman at a military service academy.”

I understand that the Office of Personnel Management has always interpreted “military service” as including service as a cadet or midshipman at the Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy, Naval Academy and U.S. Military Academy, but Section 1115 provides statue to this long-held practice.

A: Yes, time spent at one of the military academies is creditable, even if you didn’t graduate. The only exception to that rule is for foreign nationals who are receiving training under the auspices of an agreement with a foreign government.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. Duncan Aukland on

    I found an OPM decision where the OPM adjusted the service computation date by the amount of time spent at a service academy for leave accrual purposes. Wouldn’t the service computation date also be adjusted for retirement vesting purposes? My benefit officer is telling me that because it’s military service, my academy time doesn’t affect when I vest.

    • Only actual civilian service can be counted toward meeting the 5-year vesting required. Further, you can’t get credit for that time in determining your length of service for retirement purposes unless you make a deposit to the civilian retirement system.

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