TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Airmen across the board want to know when they will receive their next permanent change of station orders, but few actually know what goes into the selection process.
There are several factors that determine whether members are eligible and more likely to PCS.
“If Airmen want to travel and progress in their career, they need to know what to do to be able to PCS,” said Senior Master Sgt. Chanicke Floyd, 325th Force Support Squadron Manpower and Personnel Flight superintendent.
The average time on station for enlisted members is four and a half to seven years. While not likely under normal circumstances, first term Airmen are eligible to PCS after 12 months’ time on station and career Airmen after 24 months’ TOS.
The Assignment Management System, located on the Virtual Military Personnel Flight website, is the main hub for getting orders to another base. This system is where Airmen can update their dream sheet, view advertised open jobs within specific career fields and access the Overseas and continental U.S. Assignment Lists.
When applying for jobs, Airmen should select positions that will be their current or projected rank and skill level, and match those corresponding bases to their assignment preference list. The assignment preference list is also known as the “Dream Sheet.” For overseas jobs, Airmen are more likely to be selected if they choose an extended long tour, which is 48 months in length.
While there are specific assignment windows, it is ideal to keep your dream sheet updated at all times for both stateside and overseas bases.
The next Equal Plus Overseas listing will be posted on Nov. 2 in the Assignment Management System, and Airmen will be able to update their preferences through their dream sheet until Nov. 11. These postings will be assigned to personnel no later than Dec. 15.
Many factors affect the likelihood of an Airmen receiving an assignment besides dream sheet selection. Members on a control roster, facing Article 15 actions against them or reaching high year tenure restriction are not eligible for PCS.
The Exceptional Family Member Program, Medical Evaluation Boards and joint spouse situations are all factors to be aware of when applying for a new base.
For officers at their first base, it will be three years before they are put on the vulnerable to move list. Second base officers have four years on station before they are placed on the VML. These timelines can be sooner dependent on the member’s career field requirements and assignment possibilities.
After an officer appears on the VML, they can go to AMS to look up the jobs that are available to them, and they must update their Airman Development Plan to reflect their desired bases.
“It is very important to keep your ADP focused because you want to be realistic about what is open and available during this cycle, but you also want to be broad enough that you will be picked for something you want,” said Maj. Amber Ortiz, 325th FSS operations officer.
When officers are selected for an assignment, they are sorted by three criteria:
“The assignment teams do their best to line up the assignments to hit as many of the criteria as possible,” Ortiz said. “If we can get all three then we knocked it out of the park, but the priority is 1, 2, 3.”
To improve their chances at a base they want, officers should be in tune to their development and career progression. If they select a base that fulfills their developmental goals, the officer is more likely to get an assignment.
“The biggest thing that I have seen are officers who are not updating their ADP at all,” Ortiz said. “They should have a standing ADP that applies when they are out of cycle in case a job happens to open up.”
Extended Deployments or 365 TDYS
Temporary duty assignments lasting 365 days are treated like assignments, but they are extended deployments, and are seen as short tours. They last 12 months, and give members credit for both an assignment and deployment.
“Assignment Teams advertise out for 365s,” Ortiz said. “There is a list that is published every year with what 365s need to be filled. Members have a chance at any time to see which are available.”
Unless the 365 has a volunteer by the 180 day out mark, the assignment teams must select someone for it from their career field’s non-volunteer list. Officers who have not completed a short tour are first on this list. Everyone who has returned from a short tour is sorted by date and chosen for assignment as a last option.
“Be active in looking at myPers and reading what your career community says about 365s,” Ortiz said. “In some career fields, you can do 20 years and it is unlikely you will get tasked. Other communities see them much more often. If you are in a career field that you will have to do a 365, my biggest recommendation is to stay active and manage it yourself. Figure out when your family is in a good location with a good support network and the timing is right and you pick it.”
Join spouse situations are a concern with many officers. There have been cases where couples are separated, but this is not standard procedure.
“Very few people realize that the Air Force Personnel Center has over a 94 percent match rate for military to military officer assignments,” Ortiz said.
Similar to standard permanent changes of station, it all depends on the career field requirements, where both jobs are available and a mission requirement can be filled, and where developmental growth can take place for at least one of the members.
For addition information, members can call the assignments flight at 850-283-4144.