Reasons for a Military PCS Deferment

by Chuck Ayers

A military PCS assignment is a Permanent Change of Station assignment that usually lasts for at least one year and often longer. There are numerous programs under which the military will grant PCS deferments. Some of them are humanitarian-based, while others involve the need for a military member's presence for military or civilian law purposes or the completion of an education. There are also programs that allow military members to qualify for a base of preference assignment. Qualifying for the BOP program will defer assignments to another base.

Humanitarian Deferment Assignments

Humanitarian deferments are granted when short-term problems arise that cannot be addressed without the military member's presence. Some examples of circumstances that warrant humanitarian deferments include terminal illness of an extended family member, financial hardships not of the military member's own making, completion of the adoption of a child or the death of a spouse or chil. The intent of humanitarian deferments is to keep the military member at the closest base to the family members in need. Occasionally,the military may require retraining to meet the needs of the base to which the service member is deferred. Deferments are capped at 12 months, but 6-month extensions are possible for a total of 24 months.

Exceptional Family Member Program Assignments

The Exceptional Family Member Program allows dependents to receive any special medical or educational care at the current or projected base. To qualify, military personnel must enroll in the EFMP, although reassignment or deferment is voluntary. The base assignment is determined before the military member can apply for this program. Subsequently, services are coordinated at base-level.

Criminal Proceedings Assignments

If a military member has been subpoenaed as a witness for either civilian or military court proceedings, a PCS will automatically be deferred until the conclusion of the trial or until the court dismisses the service member. If the service member is court-martialed or is tried in a civilian court, a transfer will be automatically deferred until such time as the military tribunal or civilian court has concluded its proceedings.

Completion of Education Assignments

If a military member is enrolled in either a high school or college program, the military will allow completion of education under certain circumstances. For example, completing a GED is not location-specific. so it is unlikely to serve as grounds for deferment, but enrollment at a specific school may qualify for a deferment until classes are completed.

Base of Preference Assignments

Under the Base of Preference program, military personnel who are re-enlisting may choose up to eight bases of preference at which they may be assigned for up to six months. Staffing and specialization needs of both the current base and the preferred base will impact the assignments.

About the Author

Chuck Ayers began writing professionally in 1982, breathing life into obituaries, becoming a political and investigative reporter at a major East Coast metropolitan newspaper. He now freelances and is a California communications and political consultant. He graduated from American University, Washington, D.C., with degrees in political science and economics.

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