Each of the five armed service branches (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy) have a Relocation Assistance Program, created by Public Law 101-189 (1988) and implemented by DoD Instruction 1338.19, to provide service members, reservists and military families (as well as DoD civilian employees) before departure relocation information (such as booklets, guides, packets or tri-folds) referral services (or answers to questions that may arise) and counseling (on a wide array of topics) for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move.
Active Duty and their dependents are likely to find a relocation assistance program on the military installation providing valuable information on future duty assignments (maybe on household goods and auto shipments, on-base and off-base housing availability, education and employment opportunities, child care or school info) that often reduce or eliminate stress from a move to a new duty assignment. Relocation counseling is available mainly for outbound personnel, but in-processing personnel can benefit from the program as well.
The Army Community Service (ACS) has a Relocation Readiness Program (RRP) that is said to offer a smooth move during the relocation cycle. RRP is intended to give soldiers pre-departure counseling within days of receiving orders to a new assignment; it’s during this time when they’ll obtain personal planning and area information as well as preparation guidance to make a PCS move.
Coast Guard’s Relocation Assistance Program (RAP), which is available through the bases’ WorkLife Division, has the same function to support the well-being of DoD personnel in providing them some service for a smooth transition to the newly assigned location. It is common for personnel to receive area specific information about base amenities.
The Relocation Assistance Program in the United States Navy is available through the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC). This is the place to go for planning assistance and to receive the needed relocation tools to ensure a successful move, either that be a first military move, first overseas move or one of many, if not to establish one’s transition plans for separating from the Navy.
There are even deputy program managers providing relocation assistance from one duty station to another in the Air Force (at the Airman & Family Readiness Center, or A&FRC for short) and Marine Corps (as part of the Marine & Family Programs).
For a smooth PCS move, during one’s transition keep in mind that the only way to plan and prepare ahead of time may just be to start with the military relocation assistance office. Why not let an experienced relocation counselor be of assistance or attend a transfer workshop to make one’s next move as “painless” as possible.