FORT CARSON, Colo. — Today’s Soldiers should have a much easier time dealing with the clearing process at Fort Carson than their predecessors did even a year ago. That’s due in part to continued refinements at the installation’s out-processing section.

A couple of years ago, Department of the Army Human Resources leaders initiated changes to the clearing process that reduced the number of physical stops Soldiers needed to make to simply leave post, whether it be for a permanent change of station (PCS) or a separation from the military.

Though no one wishes to go back to 2020, last year’s events forced many organizations to rethink how they conducted face-to-face business.

“Every section at the SRP (Soldier Readiness Processing center) analyzed their processes, and we found we were bringing a lot of Soldiers into the SRP,” said Pete Garza, out-processing chief, Military Personnel Division. “Some were dropping off their clearing requests in-person, while others were picking up clearing paperwork and still others were conducting their final out process.”

While SRP leaders considered changes to reduce foot traffic in the building, Fort Carson Army leaders also devoted their attention to reducing administrative work for Soldiers.

Command Sgt. Maj. Adam Nash, senior enlisted leader, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, and Command Sgt. Maj. Marcus W. Brister II, senior enlisted leader, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson, toured the SRP, and studied workflows and procedures at the out-processing section.

“We derived some notes, charts and power point presentations for them and then walked them through the process while providing examples of the clearing process, whether that be for a PCS or a separating Soldier,” Garza said. “Their desire was to hopefully streamline the process further so as to minimize Soldier trips across post.”

Ultimately, the effort produced a few pivotal refinements, just as peak PCS season arrives at the Mountain Post.

Soldiers can now submit their clearing request via email, which allows out-processing technicians to begin their administrative tasks earlier and allows Soldiers to begin the process without setting foot inside the SRP.

Additionally, agencies such as Army Community Service (ACS) can now preclear Soldiers through the Installation Support Module (ISM).

“We are really pushing the use of ISM for virtual clearing,” Garza said. “One of the applications in that program is called OutProc. A lot of the agencies (that the Soldiers must clear) have access to the system. The staff at ACS, for example, can look at a Soldier’s record and preclear them. So, when we publish the hard copy of a Soldier’s clearance record and send that to the Soldier, that station has already been cleared.”

Again, the idea behind these latest refinements serves to eliminate many stops that Soldiers formerly had to make in person.

“I remember a few years ago, simply seeing the sheer amount of people coming into SRP,” Garza said. “The wait time to just drop off clearing requests could be hours, and then some Soldiers would find out they were missing important items, like a signed leave form, which forced them to then make more stops. (These refinements) have been a huge help with reducing wait times and reducing the amount of people in the building.”

While the improvements seem to help streamline the process, Garza explained Soldiers should initiate the clearing process, and they can optimize the system by turning in their clearing requests early, up to 30 days in advance of their leave date.