When you get your orders, you will find out whether you have a short tour, long tour, unaccompanied or accompanied assignment.
If you are authorized to take your family with you, that is an accompanied assignment; if you are not, you have an unaccompanied assignment.
Typically, unaccompanied assignments last for 12-18 months and are overseas. Accompanied assignments can be stateside, or overseas.
There are times when a PCS move can cause hardships to military families. There are, however, programs and steps you can take ahead of time to alleviate some of the worry.
PCS assignments can include Dual Military/Joint Spouse, Humanitarian, the Exceptional Family Member Program, Divorce/Co-Parenting options, and the High School Senior Assignment Deferral program.
It is important to note, that as of April 2022, the Base of Preference program has ended.
Service members who have orders for a dependent-restricted short tour, and it is your second or later assignment, you can apply for a follow-on assignment.
Follow-on assignments are designed to provide family stability, as well as to decrease PCS costs for the government.
If you are authorized a follow-on assignment, your family can either stay at your current stateside location and move when your short tour is complete, or move to the follow-on location.
For more information, visit myPers.af.mil.
Dual-military couples/Joint Spouse Assignments
PCS season can be a time of stress when both spouses are active duty. However, the Air Force makes every effort to assign these couples at the same base, or at bases close enough to maintain a joint home.
The key to making sure you stay together is planning.
Couples need to present their marriage certificate to the Military Personnel Section, to update their marital status in the Military Personnel Data System and Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. They also need to update their joint spouse intent code and assignment preferences at myPers.af.mil to indicate their intentions as a couple and whether or not they wish to be reassigned together.
If any service member is experiencing a long-distance family emergency, they may qualify for a humanitarian assignment.
The Humanitarian Reassignment and Deferment Program, run by the Air Force Personnel Center, assists active-duty airmen in resolving severe, short-term problems involving a family member, while they continue to meet the needs of the Air Force. If they qualify, those troops can use the program for an extra military move or to stay at their current location.
The definition of “family member” for the Humanitarian Program is limited to spouse; child; parents, to include in-laws and stepparents; person in loco parentis; or other persons actually residing in the household who are dependent on the Airman for more than half of their financial support.
An important thing to remember is that the Air Force doesn’t pay for a humanitarian move. Additionally, there must be a vacancy at the gaining base, and the Airmen must meet retainability requirements for a PCS move.
Contact your personnel center for more information.
Exceptional Family Members Program
If you have a family member who has specialized medical or educational needs, you may qualify for an assignment under the EFM Program.
www.militaryonesource.mil can help service members navigate the program with the EFMP & Me tool. It helps the service member quickly navigate services, connect with resources and advocate for yourself or your family member with special needs — anytime, anywhere.
Designed for military families with special needs — with the caregiver in mind — EFMP & Me can be used by both families enrolled in EFMP and those who are eligible to enroll. The website also gives EFMP Family Support providers and military leaders another tool to guide families to the resources they need.
EFMP & Me can help you understand and find medical and educational resources, offers step-by-step support for EFMP enrollment, PCS preparation, deployment and other military life moments, and offers convenient 24/7 access to EFMP resources and services from a range of programs.
Divorce and co-parenting
Airmen who are parents have the ability to defer an assignment, or be stationed near their children with a court-ordered child custody decree.
Assignment authorities are able to consider requests for an assignment or deferment to a location near their children, even if the co-parents are not married.
Service members are still required to fill valid manning requirements, perform the duties for which they are trained, and meet all PCS eligibility requirements without waivers.
Service members who are named as a parent, either biological or adopted, and have a court-ordered child custody agreement are eligible to apply. Assignment matches will be made when possible, and must meet the best needs of the Department of the Air Force.
In order to apply, Airmen can submit their application through myPers.af.mil.
High School Senior Assignment Deferment
The High School Senior Assignment Deferment is designed to increase stability for military families with dependent children entering their senior year of high school. Members who meet eligibility requirements can defer an assignment for up to one year. HSSAD requests are considered on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of approving as many requests as possible while meeting mission needs. For more information on the HSSAD program, contact your local Force Support Squadron, or visit the MyPers.af.mil website.
For more information, visit www.militaryonesource.mil, mypers.af.mil — and make sure your personal information such as marital status etc. is up-to-date.