JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Air Force military members with same-sex active duty spouses are now eligible for join spouse assignment consideration and those with a civilian same-sex spouse are now eligible for command sponsorship consideration, Air Force Personnel Center officials said.
Following a June 26 Supreme Court decision finding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, Defense Department officials announced the plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses.
Before Airmen can be considered for join spouse or command sponsorship, they must complete the marriage-related updates in the Military Personnel Data System and the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, said Bill Warner, AFPC chief of assignment programs and procedures.
“Once the updates are complete, future join spouse consideration will be automatic for married Air Force active duty couples,” Warner said. “However, members who have already been selected for an assignment, who are currently assigned at an installation far from their spouse, or who are married to an active duty member of a sister Service must submit a letter application for join spouse consideration.”
In addition, members with same-sex dependent spouses may now elect command sponsorship after assignment notification.
“The assignment selection process won’t change,” said Warner. “Selections will continue to be based on Airman qualifications, time on station, volunteer status, and other factors. “
Approval for an accompanied overseas assignment, however, may depend on the Department of Defense and Department of State review of applicable Status of Forces Agreements.
“Until those reviews are complete, approval for overseas assignment command sponsorship requests will be managed here at the center,” Warner said. “U.S. overseas locations like Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Marianas are exempt from that process, but base personnel representatives will forward all others to AFPC.”
Airmen assigned to one of those U.S. overseas locations who are living now with their same-sex spouse will be able to apply for command sponsorship when they enroll their spouse in DEERS. Airmen assigned to an overseas location outside of U.S. jurisdiction can also apply for command sponsorship when they enroll their spouse in DEERS, but this request may require higher level review.
“The process may take longer initially,” Warner said. “But, our first concern is taking care of our Airmen and we must ensure that we don’t place them or their families in a situation that could become a hardship. Once we have clear guidance from DOD, we’ll be able to resume the routine approval process.”
For more information about assignment selection processes, visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil and enter “assignments” in the search window.