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What the Recruiter Never Told You

Part 10 -- Military Assignments


Permissive Reassignments

A "permissive reassignment" is one that doesn't cost the government any money. Most permissive reassignments are in the form of "swaps." Remember how I said above that re-assignments from one CONUS location to another CONUS location are becoming more and more rare? That's because these moves cost money. The military must reassign an overseas returnee, so they generally use those to fill vacant CONUS slots. They also must fill overseas vacancies, so they use those in the CONUS to fill those slots, resulting in a constant rotation. In most cases, if one wants to go from one CONUS base to another, they must do a "Swap." One does this by finding someone with the same rank and same job that they have, currently assigned (or with orders) to a base they want to go to, and try to get them to agree to "swap."

A "Swap" cannot cost the military any money. In other words, both members who agree to "swap" must pay for their own move. This includes shipment of personal property. Usually, military personnel offices maintain lists of military people worldwide who are looking to "swap." Sometimes, military publications such as Air Force Times, Army Times, Marine Corps Times, and Navy Times also print such listings.

To be eligible for a "Swap," one must have the required time-on-station mentioned above. In other words, a first-termer must have 24 months time-on-station to swap with someone at another CONUS location.

Base of Preference

I said that moves from one CONUS base to another CONUS base were becoming more and more rare. The single exception to this rule is the Base of Preference Program (BOP). The BOP is generally in conjunction with re-enlistment (for "careerists," there are different rules). Before one re-enlists, one can apply to move to a base of his/her choice. The military, of course, wants this person to re-enlist, so they try hard to grant his/wishes. If the BOP is approved, the member must then re-enlist to accept the assignment. If the BOP is disapproved, the member can try for a different choice, or elect to re-enlist, or elect to separate from the military at the end of their current enlistment.

Travel Entitlements

Travel Pay. When you graduate technical school/AIT/A-school, the military will pay the authorized costs for you to go from your technical school/AIT/A-school location to your next duty assignment (or, to the "port" of your military flight for overseas assignments). There are two ways that military will do this (your choice): They will either provide you with an airline ticket, directly from your school location to the next duty assignment (or port call), or they will pay you a mileage allowance, plus per diem for each day you are in an authorized travel status. They will also pay a mileage allowance and (1/2 per-diem) for any authorized dependents to travel from their location to the duty station.

Before you depart your school, you can visit Finance (with copies of your orders), and normally receive an advance (about 80 percent) of your estimated travel pay.

At present, the mileage allowance is 15 cents per mile, and the authorized per diem is $91.00 per day. Dependents (family members) receive 1/2 of the authorized per diem rate for each day of travel. The military computes the amount of travel time at the rate of 350 miles per day (that's the maximum amount of time you will be allowed to travel). However, you will only be paid per-diem for the actual days you travel (according to the Travel Voucher you must file when you complete the move). For example, let's say your assignment is 700 miles away from your school location. Your orders allow you two days of travel time, but you drive it in one day. You will only receive one day's per diem (for the actual day you traveled). Per diem is only paid when you are traveling from your school to your new duty assignment. If you go "out of the way" to take leave, you don't get mileage allowance/per diem for those days of travel (sometimes, your leave location is on the route of travel toward your next duty assignment, so you luck out).

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