Beginning Nov. 1, 2018 active duty Airmen selected for an extended deployment may apply to receive an advance assignment up to 16 months prior to the projected Report Not Later Than Date of the assignment.
This means Airmen can have Permanent Change of Station orders in hand immediately after completing all required PCS actions and before departing on their deployment, providing their dependents the option to move early to their next assignment location.
“This change recognizes the need for us to increase stability and predictability for our Airmen and their families and helps our Airmen focus on their mission while deployed,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services. “The ability to receive an assignment prior to departing for an extended deployment allows Airmen to make decisions that are good for them and their families.”
Previously, Airmen on extended deployments were required to be deployed for at least 60 days before being notified about potential assignments, and orders were not published earlier than 120 days prior to the new reporting date, making it difficult for Airmen and their families to plan.
In 2017, the Air Force’s Personnel Center chartered a 365-Day Extended Deployments Working Group to look at initiatives to find better ways to accommodate and incentivize year-long deployments. Approximately 400 Airmen per year are selected for 365-day extended deployment.
The 365-day deployment policy change allows Airmen time to out-process from their losing base, provides the option to move their dependents to the new assignment location, and gives Airmen the option to request movement from their deployed location directly to their new assignment without having to return to their currently assigned unit first.
Questions / Scenarios / Points for Consideration:
Q1: How many Airmen will this impact?
A1: The number fluctuates depending on mission needs, but relatively few Airmen will be impacted. For example, there were fewer than 400 365-day deployments in fiscal year 2018.
Q2: Does the Airman have to volunteer for the 365-day extended deployment to take advantage of this change, or does it apply to tasked Airmen who do not volunteer?
A2: No, an Airman does not have to volunteer for a 365-day extended deployment; this policy applies to both volunteers and non-volunteers.
Q3: Does the Airman get to choose his/her next assignment location?
A3: Airmen can submit up to 8 CONUS and 8 OCONUS choices. The assignment team will make every effort to align their choices with the needs of the Air Force, professional development needs, etc. If the team can’t support any of the choices, it will offer up to 8 like locations.
Q4: How does this impact Airmen without dependents? Can they still receive orders 16 months prior to RNLTD?
A4: Yes, this policy applies to Airmen without dependents as well.
Q5: What if the Airman moves his/her dependents, and then becomes ineligible to PCS (i.e. medical disqualification, cancellation of the deployment, etc.)?
A5: The PCS will most likely proceed due to the funding expended to move the Airman’s dependents. If the ineligibility is a medically-related reason, AFPC may explore PCSing the Airman to a different location that meets medical and personnel requirements, moving dependents again at government expense.
Q6: If the Airman out-processes the losing base and PCSes directly to the advance assignment location after he/she completes the deployment, where does his/her deployment gear (received from the losing base) go after the deployment?
A6: HAF/A4 is developing processes for bases to coordinate both equipment and weapons turn-in.
Q7: How will the Airman ensure that his/her medical needs from losing base to deployment to next assignment are integrated?
A7: The Air Force Medical Services Agency has processes in place to facilitate seamless medical reintegration that ensures post-deployment requirements will be identified at the advance assignment location.
Q8: Does this apply to Airmen who are already deployed?
A8: Requests of deployed Airmen will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Interested Airmen should contact their home-station Military Personnel Flight.
Q9: Is this new policy going to be updated in the Assignments AFI, 36-2110?
A9: This change will be incorporated via an Interim Change or Guidance Memorandum to AFI 36-2110.
Q10: Does this policy apply to Guard and Reserve Airmen?
A10: This policy is intended for Active Duty Airmen.