YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- U.S. government employees who enroll in the Priority Placement Program (PPP) are now eligible for a Common Access Card (CAC) valid for one year, instead of the previously limited six-month term.

The policy change took effect July 1, 2013 and benefits employees on PPP in numerous ways as they await transition to their next duty assignment.

"This is very beneficial for our employees. They don't have to bother their landlord to extend another lease agreement, which is a burden on a lot of families," said Chuck Ruff, HR Specialist and Priority Placement Program Coordinator for the Area II Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC), Civilian Human Resources Agency for Far East (Korea and Japan).

"This improves efficiencies so the employee does not have to get a new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) stamp, Identification Card, Letter of Employment, car registration, and saves those offices the time it takes to process them every six months," added Area III CPAC Director, Andrew Jenson.

He explained that the change occurred as part of a joint arrangement between Installation Management Command Headquarters (IMCOM) and Civilian Human Resources Agency (CHRA), due to the cost of extra new ID cards, and manpower time spent processing the more frequent extensions.

"This is a money saver and time saver," Jenson said.

The reasons for the traditional six-month extension related to the PPP policy at that time, which was no longer than a six month term without an approved extension.

"When the policy change took effect in July, employees already on PPP were notified, and the change was explained to those nearing the end of their tours, who came in to CPAC to register (for PPP)," Jenson said.

According to officials at IMCOM Pacific Region, the previous policy of getting a CAC for only six months made it difficult for employees in Korea to secure off-post rental agreements.

"We received a number of letters from civilian employees who were registering on PPP and being issued a six-month CAC stating they were finding it very difficult to get their landlords to do a six-month lease contract because their preference is 12-month contracts," said Steve Niederriter, IMCOM-Pacific Region G1 Director. "The change to a 12-month CAC allows the employees to renew their current leases and if they did come up with an assignment within the 12 months, they will have orders that will enable them to be released from the contract."

So far, the impact of the policy change has been minimal in Area III, perhaps only 20 people, but there is a much larger impact in Area II, and in the future the impact will be more evident in Area I.

"I know employees everywhere are relieved because this makes the process simpler for all of them," Jenson said.

Ruff, who has worked in the Department of Defense Human Resources for 14 years, completely agrees.

"We currently have 95 employees registered on PPP and this helps them and their families tremendously," Ruff said. "When an employee has to get his CAC updated he must take the entire family to have all ID's updated."

If you have any questions about PPP or the extension policy, contact your Area Human Resources specialist. In Area II, contact Charles Ruff regarding PPP enrollment, at DSN: 738-3185.