August 8, 2007
Aug. 9, 2007
Policy Revisions to Army Temporary Change of Station (TCS) Management
The Army has used individual augmentees or Soldiers on temporary change of station (TCS) status to support military contingency and humanitarian assistance operations since the early 1990s [I don't know for certain, but I thought TCS was initiated post 9-11.] This system supplements the Individual Replacement System. The Army uses it to offset personnel shortages and personnel imbalances. The individual TCS reassignment system has proven quite successful during short-term contingency operations. For more than five years, the Army has depended on Reserve Component Soldiers volunteering to serve in CONUS-based positions in support of on-going combat operations and the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The Army expected it would be filling short-term requirements when it began using TCS status for all Soldiers supporting contingency-operations-based requirements.
Based on recent program reviews of TCS costs, the Army identified areas of concern with the TCS administrative and fiscal management for TCS Soldiers in support of contingency requirements outside the current combat zone and qualified hazardous duty area. The findings in the reviews have led to revisions of policy and procedures to address the concerns. These revisions to the TCS program will help the Army free up constrained financial resources that can be applied to waging the Global War on Terror. Because many contingency manpower requirements have become long-term in nature, a "temporary duty" status can no longer be the most cost effective and efficient way to meet these requirements. The Army has determined it needs to validate position requirements for non-theater support and identify which have lasted for more then 180 days.
Currently, Soldiers in TCS status conditions receive travel and per diem entitlements. Under the policy change, the preferred method of filling long-term requirements will be with PCS assignments. Long-term TDY will be used only where alternate solutions (e.g., PCS, civilian manning) are not available or appropriate for the requirement. If long-term TDY is necessary, cost-control measures must be used to minimize costs, where practicable. Additionally, the review found current TCS funds-control-procedures do not adequately project cost requirements. The Army needed to revise policies and procedures so that it better manages and fulfills its role as a prudent steward of the taxpayers' dollars. The Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) directed the Army Staff to develop an Action Plan to address concerns and improve TCS policies and procedures.
Reviews of TCS costs identified areas of concern with TCS administrative and fiscal management. These concerns included:
o Soldiers serving in TCS status for multiple years
o No predictability in managing positions
o Above average and high TDY costs and expenses,
o Initial personnel requirements for contingency operations not validated
o Government lodging and meals underutilized, resulting in unusually high cost in travel claims
TCS POLICY REVISIONS: These revisions will not apply to Soldiers under the authority of Section 12302 Title 10 USC or to Soldiers in TCS status in the current combat zones or qualified hazardous duty area
Aca,!Ac Effective on 15 August 2007, TCS/TDY orders will not be issued for greater than 180 days
Aca,!Ac Waivers of the 180 -day limit for individuals or groups may be approved only by the ASA (M&RA) with justification
Aca,!Ac Soldiers in TCS status on the effective date of this policy change will remain in TCS status until the expiration date of current orders or 31 January 2008, whichever is earlier. If the Army determines that the position is a continuing requirement, the Army will inform the Soldier not later than 30 September 2007 that his or her TCS assignment will terminate.
Aca,!Ac A Soldier currently serving in TCS status in a validated long-term position will be offered a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) assignment to the position; if this offer is declined, the Soldier may be offered a long-term TDY assignment to the position.
Aca,!Ac A long-term TDY assignment will require a waiver by the ASA (M&RA).
Aca,!Ac If the Soldier elects PCS and elects to move without dependents, the Soldier may request unaccompanied status. [I don't believe this is still a valid, relevant comment.]
Aca,!Ac Soldiers who are granted waivers for TDY/TCS beyond 180 days will be reimbursed at a per diem rate of 55% of the maximum daily TDY locality per deim rate.
Aca,!Ac Soldiers in a TDY/TCS status receive a housing allowance based on their Place Entered Active Duty (PLEAD); this location will not change during the tour of active duty. Soldiers issued PCS/EAD orders authorizing movement of dependents and household goods are authorized a housing allowance based on the Permanent Duty Station (PDS) to which they have been ordered.
Aca,!Ac Soldiers with dependents in a PCS/EAD status may request a Secretarial waiver to receive a housing allowance based on their PLEAD/previous PDS in lieu of a housing allowance based on their current PDS. Under the circumstance of a Secretarial waiver, a Soldier with dependents is only authorized one housing allowance, either at the PDS or at the PLEAD/previous PDS, not both. Secretarial waivers are available only to Soldiers with dependents.
Aca,!Ac If the Soldier declines either PCS or long-term TDY, the Soldier will be released from active duty ( REFRAD)
Aca,!Ac The Army will then fill the position with another Soldier, using the following solutions in order: PCS, long-term TDY (with waiver) or short-term TCS.
Aca,!Ac IMCOM will now process all orders and manage travel funds, and arrange lodging/meals.
Aca,!Ac Soldiers in TCS status will be directed to use government lodging solutions (installation or contract) with IMCOM approval required to use economy per diem lodging.
Aca,!Ac All travel claims will be filed using the Defense Travel System. Soldiers under current manual travel claims procedures will be appropriately transitioned to DTS.
By clarifying rules governing entitlements for contingency assignments outside the current combat zones and qualified hazardous duty areas, the Army is ensuring more predictable and reasonable service requirements on affected individual Soldiers and their Families. The 11,000 Soldiers currently on TCS orders and their Families deserve a process that makes sense, is predictable, and honors their willingness and commitment to sacrifice and serve.