The U.S. Navy is prioritizing which sailors will be moving to new duty stations, as they must ensure that high priority sea duty units remain manned while preserving maritime superiority.
Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves will restart, using a conditions-based, phased approach, after the pause due to the pandemic.
The Navy Personnel Command (NPC) is ensuring that the high priority sea duty units maintain readiness, based on the priority of billets, sea duty incentives and adjusted dates of detachment (EDD).
“The current stop movement policies have impacted 42,000 sets of officer and enlisted orders. We will use every option available to maintain fleet readiness and will prioritize all PCS moves based on the impacts to readiness rather than solely on a Sailor’s Projected Rotation Date (PRD) for those transferring,” said Capt. Derek Trinque, director of the Career Management Department at NPC.
The flow of orders is impacted by local restrictions and the orders will begin in stages as areas open. Local Health Protection Condition (HPCON) along with international, state, local government policies will be considered when scheduling the transfers. It is expected that eliminating the backlog of orders could extend beyond the end of the calendar year of 2020.
Emphasizing operational readiness and unit prioritization reflects the Navy’s identity as a sea service. Focusing on filling billets at sea is critical to preserving the readiness of the fleet. High priority sea duty commands include those designated as operational sea duty.
The commands include Strategic and Special Operations Forces, Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) and Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) units that have a published manning date that is normally 12-months prior to the deployment date.
To maintain unit readiness, face-to-face reliefs for billets at high priority commands will be prioritized. Service members transferring to a high priority command will move first and their shore duty may be shortened up to six months. Sailors transferring from high priority commands could be extended at their current duty station for up to six months.
This will be reviewed on a cases by case basis. Involuntary extensions beyond six months will only occur under the most unusual circumstances. All Sailors are encouraged to consider the incentives for voluntary extensions. A list of the eligible skills can be found at https://www.mnp.navy.mil/group/pay-and-benefits.
Leaders are being encouraged to convince sailors at their commands to embrace incentives for voluntary extensions at sea.
“It is critically important that leaders talk with Sailors approaching their EAOS to determine if there is an intent to separate or retire, and forward that information immediately to NPC so a backfill for sea duty billets can be prioritized,” said Trinque.
The NPC will work with the gaining and losing commands to evaluate impact on readiness if there is a gap in the billets. All officers and enlisted Sailors with orders from March to September 2020 to determine potential hardships.
For service members with dependents, there is flexibility as dependents are authorized to delay dependent travel (DDT) up to 180 days from the service members transfer date. Service members with dependents in school (K-12) will be authorized DDT until the end of the school year or 30 June 2021, whichever occurs first.
Restriction of Movement (ROM) periods still apply for people traveling through areas where ROM is still in effect, including layovers, intermediate stops (I-stop) and airline connections. Serviced members, DoD civilians and dependents under orders should apply for their passports within the guidelines to ensure dependents can travel with their DoD sponsors.