Q1: How will it work if members are in an area not open for PCS but they are going to an area that is open?
A1: The Navy will follow all Dept. of Defense criteria for lifting restrictions on travel and PCS orders. These criteria will take into account local conditions in countries, states, and installations based on prevailing COVID risk conditions. In areas remaining under stop movement conditions, the exemption and waiver processes put in place will continue to apply. PCS orders will continue to include Restriction of Movement (ROM) periods for Sailors traveling to or from these areas, to include intermediate stops. Even though gaining and losing locations may be “green,” if an intermediate stop on your orders is “red” you may still require a waiver.
Q2: How many Sailors were impacted by the stop movement?
A2: The SECDEF-directed stop movement of all service members has forced Sailors with transfer dates in March through June to delay their PCS. Combined with the orders in July, the Navy’s transfer backlog is approximately 42,000 Sailors which will be spread across calendar year 2020 and into 2021.
Q3: What is the Navy’s plan to start moving Sailors again?
A3: Our ultimate goal is to preserve the U.S. Navy’s maritime superiority by focusing on fleet readiness. NPC will use every option available to maintain fleet readiness. Options to maintain readiness include prioritizing all PCS moves based on the priority of the billet, incentivizing sea duty, and adjusting the officer or enlisted Sailor’s projected detachment date.
Q4: What are the commands that are prioritized?
A4: High priority commands are operational sea duty commands. The priority for having their billets filled is determined by NPC using the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command/Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet Notice 1000 of August 16, 2019 that sets sea manning unit target levels. These include commands that are on operational sea duty to include strategic and special operations forces, Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) and Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP) units with a published manning date (M-date), normally 12 months prior to the deployment date. Additionally, in order of decreasing priority, the following billets will also be prioritized:
- Critical accessions pipeline billets at Recruit Training Command, Officer Training Command, Navy Recruiting Command, and essential production support training sites;
- Milestone billets, key billets, special program billets, and students heading to civilian or service schools (NWC, NPS, etc.)
- Billets outside of the continental U.S. (OCONUS) shore duty, Major or Numbered Fleet Staffs, Combatant Commander staffs, or Joint Staff and OSD;
- Non-operational sea duty billets to include units in maintenance and pre-commissioned status;
- All continental U.S. shore duty billets will be the last priority.
Q5: There are a lot of orders on that backlog, how will they all be prioritized for the high priority commands?
A5: Sailors transferring to a high priority command will move first and Sailors transferring from high priority commands, regardless of their original estimated departure date, will likely be extended up to six months to enable a face-to-face turnover. A key tactic in maintaining fleet readiness is to maximize face-to-face turnovers for officers and Sailors in operational sea duty billets. A potential outcome is extending Sailors on sea duty and/or shortening Sailors’ shore duty tours by up to six months. Impacts to gaining and losing commands, Sailor hardships, and regional COVID-19 recovery timelines will all be factored into the detailing process. NPC may need to increase the number of same geographic location moves and renegotiate already-released orders to maximize readiness of operational sea duty commands and accession pipelines. For the extent of the COVID recovery, near-term readiness may eclipse career progression or duty station preference concerns.
Q6: If sea duty is the priority, what measures are being put in place to ensure that the billets aren’t gapped?
A6: NPC will use every option available to maintain fleet readiness. Options to maintain readiness include prioritizing all PCS moves based on the priority of the billet, incentivizing sea duty, and adjusting the officer or enlisted Sailor’s projected detachment date. Additionally, during these unusual circumstances, enlisted Sailors who are transferring to a sea duty billet in a high priority command will receive one-on-one detailing to ensure a face-to-face turnover.
Q7: What about the impact on the Sailor? How are they being compensated?
A7: This is an unprecedented time for our nation and our Navy and the need for skilled professional Sailors at sea is critical. The emphasis on operational readiness and unit prioritization reflects our identity as a Sea Service and focusing on filling billets at sea is critical to preserving the readiness of the fleet. Extending at sea not only benefits the Navy, it benefits the Sailor. A new Assignment Incentive Pay to compensate those Sailors extended greater than 6 months beyond their PRD has been proposed by Navy. Sailors that are in Sea Duty Incentive Pay (SDIP) eligible skills and extend for 12 months or more may receive SDIP. A list of eligible skills can be found at https://www.mnp.navy.mil/group/pay-and-benefits. More information is available in NAVADMIN 132/20.
Q8: Why are Sailors who only extend up to 6 months not given an incentive?
A8: Due to current policy (NAVADMIN 058/14), extensions of 0-6 months do not qualify for incentives as that is within the normal flexibility authorized for detailing fleet vacancies.
Q9: Is there any flexibility for Sailors who have dependents in school or have other restraints from moving at a specific time?
A9: To add flexibility, Sailors with dependents will be authorized to delay dependent travel (DDT) up to 180 days. 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.
Q10: What happens to a Sailor who has orders in the fall? Are they safe from these changes?
A10: Officers and enlisted with rotation dates in October 2020 and beyond will need to work with their detailer to ensure a relief has been identified and a face- to- face turnover is possible with the current orders. Orders may be adjusted up to six months to ensure a face-to-face turnover occurs. In some instances, orders may need to be re-negotiated to emphasize orders to higher priority units, accession pipeline units, or same geographic location.