DEP is a Management Tool

Purpose of the Delayed Entry Program

From the Navy Recruiting manual concerning the Delayed Entry Program (DEP);

Delayed entry is the military status gained by an enlistment in which a service member’s entry on active duty (ACDU) or initial active duty for training (IADT) is postponed for up to 365 days (12 months) with the exception of juniors who will be mid-year graduates. All up and coming new high school seniors (scheduled to graduate at the completion of the next school year) entering DEP during the months of May, June and July are authorized to remain in DEP for a maximum of 455 days (15 months).

When you enlist, your date for leaving to recruit training (boot camp) will hinge on a few factors. First is when would be the first day you would be eligible to leave. Are you still in school? You want to ensure proper notice of current employer or you have entered a program which requires a certain amount of time in the DEP due to additional qualifications you must meet – the number of things to consider are as varied as the people who join. Next is what are you qualified to do? Are there any boot camp vacancies and do those vacancies line up with the class convening date of the job training you wish to select and are qualified for? The DEP is a management tool used to ensure proper boot camp and follow-on school level loading. It provides the ability to place people in “out-months” to help the recruiting commands gauge and monitor the potential to hit in-year accession targets.

The Delayed Entry Program is NOT available for applicants to “try out military life.” If you are not convinced the particular branch is for you, then do not join – seek out more information until you are satisfied with your decision. If you do join a branch of the military, and during your DEP time realize you absolutely do not want to leave for boot camp, then tell your Recruiter. Expect him or her to ask you some questions – it is not uncommon for anyone to have a certain amount of “oh, crap, what I just do” – that’s human, so don’t let the emotion over take the sound logic you used while making the choice in the first place. In the end, if you are convinced the military is not for you – you will be discharged.

Because it is the right thing to do, all the branches of the US military use the time you might have to wait [DEP time] before boot camp to maintain your motivation for the military service. Your Recruiter would enter into a more of a mentor-leadership roll. Taking the time to ensure you are mentally and physically ready for the challenges of boot camp greatly reducing your chance of failing. Attend the DEP meetings, work on your advanced qualifications, and for goodness sake, ask questions!

Your military experience will be what you put into it.

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63 Responses to “Purpose of the Delayed Entry Program”

  1. tristan. says:


    hi. i have a question that might sounds common. coz i took already asvab last apriland i passed that and its been 3 months now and still they diddnt call me for medical in meps. so what are the factors why they diddnt call yet? is it normal to wait for months just to have medical and all that stuff to enlist. thankyou.

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You need to contact your recruiter — it is not normal to have to wait three months for people who passed the ASVAB (with line scores that would qualify you for available jobs) and are otherwise fully qualified.

  3. The Mrs says:

    I was wondering if my husband who is 26yrs, 6’0, 280 lbs, with a misdemeanor in theft from over 6 years ago (he had off bench probation and hasn’t gotten into any trouble since [glad this was before I met him and that he is a totally different person today]), would qualify for enlistment? He’s been wanting to for years now and we’ve discussed it plenty, but have yet to be contacted by a recruiter. I’m mainly concerned his misdemeanor will get in the way of him being able to join the NAVY. Please, help!

    Thank you.

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:

    The Mrs,

    A waiver is possible for the theft; however, he would have to meet the height and weight requirements before he can try. The requirements are here –>

  5. MXC says:

    Hello, I have been thinking about joining the navy since last year. In August, I decided to go and talk to a recruiter about joining. I was weighing 185 and she told me to drop down to 165 to take the actual ASVAB test and sign; however I am only 5’2 and I know that the weight requirement for females is 150. Is it possible to join the navy being overweight? Also if i do join weighing 165 will I be able to participate in the DEP to continue losing weight until January 2014 which is when I would like to start bootcamp.

  6. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I am attaching a link to the height/weight chart, and on that page is a link to the procedures for measuring one’s body fat — if you are overweight, you can still join if you meet the body fat standard.

    If you are able to join, then you will be expected to keep losing weight and to also get yourself physically ready for boot-camp. Being able to leave in January 2014 may be a bit optimistic — the seats may already be full. Something may open up, but that is something you will find out for sure when you get to MEPS — you may have to wait a few months longer than that; you can be in DEP for up to a year depending on the rating (job) availability that you qualify for.

  7. ray says:

    hi im currently on dep. and my recruiter put a DAR on me for new rating and early ship date. and he said everything was ok all have approved and signed and i saw it. but my contract is still the same. my recruiter said they did not finalize it yet and he should received an e mail from them. i’m really confused

  8. NCCM(Ret) says:


    An approved DAR does not mean that the rating and date will actually be available. The approved DAR is what is needed for the classifier to go into the system to try and locate the opening — if one is not there, they cannot create it.

    My classifiers used to maintain a list of the approved DARs, and each morning, the first thing they would do is try and complete the action — rest assured, they are trying to meet your request.

  9. ray says:

    my recruiter told me on the first place that AME was available with the early ship date thats why they put in DAR for. and the chief was aware about it. i dont understand why take so long. when its available on the first place.

  10. Enrique says:

    What are the advantages of swearing in at MEPS to a Navy rate if I want to get into a Spec War program? I’ve heard a lot of different things but my recruiter tells me that in order to get into the DEP, I have to be sworn in with a rate or else I’m pretty much on my own after I clear MEPS till I take my PST (physical screening test). Are you considered “Navy personnel” after you swear in? Can you still back away AFTER swearing in at MEPS if you change your mind and ONLY want to be considered Spec War candidate?

  11. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Follow you recruiter’s direction, and to answer your last question, yes, you can change your mind after you swear in at MEPS; you cannot change your mind the day you ship to boot-camp (your second swearing in). Make it perfectly clear to him that you will not ship without the SO rating guaranteed. If it makes you feel better, have him write that down for you before you proceed; if his plan is sound, he should not have a problem doing that.

  12. Enrique says:

    So I took the asvab and cleared MEPS. Apparently though, I scored 3 points under in a subtest that is needed to be scored high for SpecWar. My recruiter said that he spoke to some “people” and said they would waive those points ONLY if I nail the PST (physical screening test) or I would have to retest for the asvab. He and the job councilor were pretty bummed that I chose not to swear in at MEPS to a rate I had no desire in. They wanted me to swear in, retest, take the pst, go through the SpecWar draft then change over my rate. It all sounded too fishy. I have not sworn in yet nor have taken the pst they asked to nail due to the fact that I still don’t hit those swim numbers and don’t want to disqualify due to poor performance. However, my recruiter wants me to retest and swear in this week. He said something about me having to take the pst within the 30 days after I initially took the asvab. I honestly think he’s BSing me and just wants me to retest and swear in so they can at least count me in not caring that I’m a DEP candidate. At this stage, what should I do?

  13. NCCM(Ret) says:


    For SO and SB, that method is actually pretty common — it actually saves you a trip to the MEPS; however, NEVER take a rating/program that you would not be happy with to do that, so you did the right thing. There is no time limit to take the PST after the ASVAB beyond taking it before the ASVAB expires (and even then, it doesn’t matter — all the stars, C-Sort, ASVAB, PST, Physical, etc., must be done). My Warrior page explains the C-Sort.

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