The kids are out of school, families are planning vacations, taking trips to the beach, and if you’re a military family there’s a good chance you’ll be squeezing in a cross-country move this summer.
The summer is peak PCS season and for the next few months thousands of service members will relocate to their next duty stations.
The Navy is reporting shortened lead times for PCS orders, stating Sailors are getting less advanced notice for their upcoming moves due to budget constraints.
Each year, approximately 66,000 Sailors move on operational, rotational, and training orders and that doesn’t count the 70,000 in addition that separate or retire. Hundreds of thousands of service members across the branches are moving each year, and budget constraints are not new news.
The Navy has been anticipating tightened PCS funds as the end of the fiscal year approaches. Traditionally, Sailors receive PCS orders with three months advanced notice and this is currently down to one month. This places additional burdens on the Sailor, their families, and the military all around.
As military spouses know, this is not ideal when moving to another state or country.
- If you currently own a home or rental property, trying to sell or go with gaps in renters is difficult without adequate planning.
- Service members need to get on wait lists for base housing and do research on off base options.
- Military spouses need time to leave their current employer on good terms, and find new employment at the next location.
- Military spouses enrolled in school that do not attend online will have to transfer.
- Service members and their children undergo additional stress as well.
Earlier this year, the Navy began to manage the issuance of orders in anticipation of PCS season and the limited PCS budget funds.
They since have implanted strategies in hopes that the lead times do not reduce any further for Sailors receiving orders. Higher priority moves will be issued first, which includes orders to fill gaps at sea, safety and overseas billets and more, and the rest will be released as available.
The Navy also stated that the Navy Personnel Command will issue letters of intent to overseas moves so although official orders may not be in hand, Sailors can begin planning. If you’ve completed on overseas PCS before, you understand the tedious steps and stress this entails. These letters can allow medical screenings, dependent entry approvals, passport applications and security clearance requests to be worked on prior to receiving official orders.
Whether you have three months or a couple of weeks to move, military families are very resilient and able to adapt under short notice.
If your Sailor is on track for an upcoming PCS, hopefully lead times will be increased to allow for more adequate planning. The Navy states they “recognize that these shortened lead times limit Sailors’ time to prepare for moves, and burdens them and their families. Leadership is engaged at all levels to develop and implement solutions to minimize the impact to our Sailors. The focus and priority remains on manning the Fleet, and taking care of Sailors and their families.”
PCS Order Lead Times – Three Things You Need to Know. Navy Life. United States Navy, 22 June 2016. Web. 22 June 2016.