PCS policy changes promote stability, quality of life

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- June 17, 2009  Air Force officials have modified two permanent change of station policies to give Airmen more flexible assignment options and better force development opportunities.

The time on station requirement for government funded join-spouse assignments, where the Air Force assigns military couples (when possible) to a location where they can live in the same residence, has changed from 24 to 12 months.

"This change gives Airmen more flexibility and will help minimize financial hardships for married couples who are geographically separated and managing two households," said Letty Inabinet, chief of the assignment programs and procedures branch at the Air Force Personnel Center here.

This policy change also applies to Airmen with projected permissive join-spouse assignments who have not departed their current duty station. Permissive reassignments are those where Airmen pay all moving expenses and travel time is charged as leave.

The other PCS change involves recent adjustments in manning requirements for Airmen at stateside bases, which is expected to open up more base-of-preference opportunities for first-term and career Airmen.

"It's all about improving the quality of life of our Airmen," said Ms. Inabinet, "and to give those who are eligible opportunities to broaden their experiences at different locations."   

These changes are expected to open up opportunities in the Voluntary Stabilized Base Assignment Program, which gives Airmen the option to volunteer for certain bases in the continental U.S. that have been historically hard to fill. The benefit to the volunteer is a stabilized tour of either four or five years depending on the location.

All other PCS policies, including assignment lengths, remain the same. In 2006, Air Force officials extended the average assignment length for most Airmen from three years to four years, which has reduced the number of yearly PCS moves.

Limiting the number of PCS moves both stateside and overseas has helped the Air Force save PCS costs.

"Fewer moves allows children to stay in school longer, gives spouses the ability to remain in stable careers and lets families stay in their homes longer," Ms. Inabinet said.

Although 48 months is the goal, some Airmen, depending on the career field and mission needs, may need to rotate more often, she said.

For more information, call the call the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102, commercial (210) 565-5000 or DSN 665-5000.

From a Randolf AF Base Announcement