Family PCS Flexibility Loses In Defense Bill

December 9, 2016

One provision we hoped would be retained in the defense bill was a Senate provision supporting flexibility to address family stability needs for families facing PCS moves. 

MOAA wrote about the original bill, the Military Family Stability Act, last fall. It provided a uniform policy for all of the Armed Forces to let families move up to six months before or after a servicemember to the next duty station. Such flexibility would have been granted for circumstances pertaining to education, employment, and caregiving of dependents. 

Unfortunately, the proposal wasn't retained in the final bill. 

However, the conferees found the issue of enough interest to direct the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress on actions DoD is taking to enhance the stability of military families in connection with a PCS. 

The report will include an analysis of the current extent of family disruption caused by a PCS, along with actions taken by DoD and recommendations to further minimize disruptions. 

MOAA looks forward to further study of the impacts of PCS on military families. 

MOAA members have experienced them all. We know military children have had school years and athletic seasons interrupted for a move. It's not unusual for spouses to miss deadlines for licensing exams or school enrollments in a new state, creating another gap in their resumes. 

Disruptions are an accepted part of military life, but families should have those disruptions mitigated to the greatest extent possible. Too often families have made the difficult choice to provide that stability on their own, living apart at significant financial cost. Where a few months of stability in one location can mean the difference between achievement and struggle, families should have some flexibility.  


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