Conducting the pre-separation process through the Army Career and Alumni Program at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin is mandatory for Soldiers of all ranks, enlisted or commissioned, who will be leaving the military.
And yes, many things in the military are mandatory, but the ACAP function is one thing Soldiers should look forward to and want to start on time, if their separation date is approaching; not four weeks out, or four months out for that matter, but 18 months from the separation date. For retiring Soldiers, that ACAP commencement time-frame is 24 months prior to the retirement date.
The ACAP process begins with a pre-separation brief and includes workshops and counseling for employment, education, technical, and entrepreneurship (small business). Workshops and briefings are provided in conjunction with Department of Labor and Veterans Affairs. The VA benefits briefing is also one of the major components of ACAP.
Soldiers might have spent a handful of years serving or might have made the Army a career; the ACAP process provides Soldiers a great opportunity to exit the military on a path to continued success as Veterans. The ACAP process can also serve as a time of assessment for younger Soldiers who might be considering re-enlisting, but haven’t made a final decision (a visit with a retention non-commissioned officer is also mandatory prior to separating from the service).
The ACAP process can begin with a visit to the office at building 111 in the Reception Campus on post, a call to the office at 380-5644, or a conversation with a senior leader within the unit. Senior NCO’s have served for at least a decade and have had to make decisions about career paths, so why not get advice from someone who “has been there.” Soldiers can also get information online at https://www.acap.army.mil/default.aspx.htm.
This post’s ACAP office has recently been augmented with additional staff to more effectively serve Soldiers and Families, said Mfon Umoren, director of ACAP here. In addition to five additional ACAP staff, two other agencies are providing personnel to help the ACAP office: the VA is providing one representative and Goodwill Industries is assisting with three employees.
Umoren acknowledges that today’s fighting force is more technologically savvy and that characteristic is also being incorporated into ACAP. Recently the ACAP office received 50 new computers, which help with online workshops and electronic forms or templates required for counseling sessions.
The program has been around for about 20 years, and now ACAP is congressionally mandated, said Umoren. Regardless of the fact that the transition program was made obligatory by public law, individuals and leaders have a professional responsibility to participate.
“The leadership and the command will help, but I think the Soldier needs to get started,” Umoren said. “We’ve got many [tools] online, and before, you didn’t have that option. We have many more tools available to Soldiers. So, the excuse shouldn’t be that they [can’t] get it done. They can go online … and start the process, meaning we’re trying to make it easier for the Soldier.”
The ACAP web sites states that Soldiers who begin their ACAP services early in their transition are better able to complete ACAP activities around unit duty requirements. Additionally, if the Army is to realize the benefits of reduced unemployment compensation costs, enhanced active duty retention, enhanced enlistment in the National Guard and Reserve and enhanced image of the Army as a great place to start, Soldiers should have time to receive sufficient transition and employment assistance services.
As important as saving money is, the Army’s ACAP goals also include support to the manning of the total Army, according to Umoren. The web site for ACAP states that ACAP supports the Army’s Active Component recruiting effort by producing successful alumni. The decision to enlist in the Army is often influenced by friends and relatives. When alumni are successful they serve as powerful examples of what Army service can do for a person’s future. Those who are capable of translating Army skills, training, and experience into rewarding careers become living billboards promoting the Army as a great place to start.
The ACAP also supports Active Component retention by helping Soldiers compare their Army earnings, benefits and potential for growth with what they can reasonably expect to achieve in the private sector. Some ACAP clients realize that they need to stay on active duty in order to gain new skills, education, training and experience. In fiscal year 2010, more than 11,000 ACAP clients reenlisted – that’s the equivalent of almost 23 battalions.
Army Transition Process at the NTC and Fort Irwin ACAP Center
Building 111 in the Reception Campus
Corner of Langford Lake Road and B Avenue (760) 380-5644
7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 7:30 a.m. – noon and 2 – 4:30 p.m., on Fridays
- Separating Soldiers must complete a Pre-Separation Brief no later than 12 months prior to planned separation to obtain a DD2648
(e.g. Pre-Separation Counseling Checklist).
Note: Retirees can complete a Pre-Separation Brief 24 months prior to retiring. To meet this standard separating Soldiers can walk into the ACAP office and complete a Pre-Separation Brief using our workstations or complete an online Pre-Separation Brief via www.acap.army.mil.
Note: To complete a Pre-Separation Brief, you need an active AKO account and must know your username and password. No CAC login.
AKO Help Desk: (866) 335-2769
- As a transitioning Service Member, it is mandated that you register at: eBENEFITS, myHEALTHeVET and CareerOneStop, NLT 12 months prior to separation.
- eBenefits (800-983-0937)
- *careeronestop (register at the nearest career one-stop to your residence)
- eBenefits (800-983-0937)
- Soldier will attend an Initial Counseling Session and begin an Individual Transition Plan, NLT than 10 months prior to separation.
Note: The ITP is completed in conjunction with the Pre-Separation Brief.
- No later than nine months to planned separation, Soldier will complete a Department of Labor Employment Workshop.
Note: VA Benefits Brief is part of the three day DOL Employment Workshop.
- No later than five months to planned separation date, Soldier will complete a resume of choice (e.g. civilian-style resume or Federal Style Resumix.).
- In addition to the above mandated requirements, Soldiers undergoing a Medical/Physical Evaluation Board (MEB/PEB) must also attend a Disabled Transition Assistance Program Brief.