Temporary Change of Station (TCS) /TDY Policy Changes
August 09, 2007
What is it? The Army is putting the “temporary” back into Temporary Change of Station, or TCS. TCS is the status of Soldiers who are deployed away from their home stations to support a contingency operation. TCS assignments were appropriate following the 9-11 attacks because it appeared that these duty assignments would be short-term in nature. But the fact that we are engaged in an environment of persistent conflict requires us to reassess the use of TCS status. Following a review of TCS management, the Army has determined that many short-term assignments have evolved into long-term requirements and different approaches to meeting these requirements should be used. (In this context, long-term means assignments for more than 180 days.)
What has the Army done? In a recent review of the management, administrative, and financial aspects of the TCS program, the Army identified challenges that must be addressed with revised policies and procedures. The challenges included:
No predictability in managing positions
Above average expenses
Government lodging and meals underutilized, resulting in unusually high cost in travel claims
In an effort to reduce costs while maintaining operational support, the Army conducted a program review which identified potential cost reductions the Army could realize if it altered the way it pays allowances for lodging and per diem. Since operational support is necessary to sustain forward operations and the Soldiers serving in these mission essential positions are providing vital support, the Army will introduce a new policy which is expected to have minimal impact on operational support, Soldiers and their Families while presenting the Army with significant long-term cost reduction.
The Secretary of the Army directed the Army Staff to develop a TCS Action Plan to fix the identified challenges so the 16,000 Soldiers currently on TCS orders and their Families have a process that makes sense, is predictable, and honors their willingness and commitment to serve in long-term positions. After thorough coordination and discussion, the Secretary approved the Action Plan developed by the staff. These changes are intended to make TCS orders the exception rather than the rule for Soldiers deployed in validated long-term assignments. The revised policies do not apply to Soldiers in the combat zone or qualified hazardous duty area.
What’s next? Effective Aug. 15, 2007, long-term TCS /TDY assignments will not be authorized unless a waiver is approved by the Assistant Secretary of the Army(Manpower and Reserve Affairs). Units will submit waiver requests through the chain of command, endorsed by a major general or above. The objectives of the policy are to limit TCS status to periods of 180 days or less and to use PCS or long-term TDY assignments for contingency requirements lasting longer than 180 days. Incumbents will be offered PCS. In addition, Soldiers who are granted waivers for TDY beyond 180 days will be reimbursed at a reduced per diem rate of 55 percent of the maximum daily locality per diem rate.
Between Aug. 15 and 30 Sept. 30, the Army will instruct the field to take actions to document, or eliminate directed missions. If the Soldier does not accept or is not offered either PCS or long-term TCS, the Soldier will remain in a TCS status until the current order expires or until Jan.31, 2008, whichever is earlier, and then be released from active duty.
If the Soldier accepts PCS, he or she will receive a housing allowance based on the permanent duty station (PDS) to which he or she has been ordered. Soldiers who are granted waivers for TCS beyond 180 days will use government lodging solutions if available. Soldiers in this status, using government lodging solutions, will receive full reimbursement for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) unless government dining facilities are available.
In implementing these changes to how it fills long-term contingency requirements the Army will take great care to eliminate or minimize the impact on operations, and on Soldiers and their Families. The present strategic environment clearly shows these requirements will remain over time. Hence, the Army needs an efficient and responsive system to continually validate these requirements, and to sustain them.
You have to read between the lines here. This is not about Soldiers and their families. This is about financial savings for the Army, period. Those soldiers who own a home (and making payments on that home) who are now serving in a TDY location where lodging is not available, have no choice but to contract for quarters at their TDY duty location. When this poilicy is implemented, those Soldiers will not be able to afford the payment on their primary residence plus pay for their TDY lodging. The army's preference to put these Soldiers in government-contracted quarters is laughable. Government-contract quarters are, by nature of their cost, little more than slums in low-income housing areas.
What this policy will do is stop Reserve and National Guard Soldiers from "volunteering" for long-term missions. The impact on missions requiring long-term IMA soldiers will be damaging. Further, this will necessitate involuntary call-up and mobilization of Reserve Soldiers to fill billets (both CONUS and OCONUS) that the Active Army cannot fill, and will result in financial hardship for those Reservists.
Last year, a dual-BAH policy was adopted to mitigate the long-term costs to the Army for TDY lodgings. It was left to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to implement this policy. DFAS did not do so for reasons yet to be explained, even though this policy was a much better financial solution for Reservists serving long-term (180- day plus) mission support. If the Army, in their infinite wisdom, feels they can support the War on terrorism with 180-day and less TDY Soldiers, then so be it. But their intent to PCS Soldiers for 180 days and above proves this to be a false assumption. And if this idiotic policy is intended to HELP Soldiers and Families, how can the Army justify a PERMANENT CHANGE of STATION!!! order (causing that soldier to either sell, rent, or lose his home) for a one year mission!?
I urge every Reserve and National Guard Soldier affected by this poorly though-out policy to contact their Congressmen and Senators to put a stop to it.
how long does tdy take to get into your accounr, from the day you submet the paper work?
179 day orders means that my replacement will be forced to leave as soon as he/she has learned the mission. Long term projects will be tabu, as the Reservist will not have time to finish what long term projects he/she has started. Reservists will be reluctant to accept TCS/PCS orders, because for the most part, they are rooted in their civ lives and homes, hence preferring not to loose all of what they may have invested over a number of years. (AT LEAST NOT VOLUNTARILY)
As I read the article this weekend in the Army Times, I was relieved to see that the plan was at least delayed. Hopefully there will be stronger consideration before this is JUMPED into.
SFC Charles Wallace
EUCOM Deployment and Distribution Operation Center EDDOC
What are reservist and national guardsmen for????if we need them to fill the gap what's the problem? if it is a problem then dissolve them and start the draft back up. nobody compalains when they can stay home all the time and still draw a salary for being in the guard and reserve but when it comes time to pay the piper then its a problem. i am a vietnam veteran and served my time so don't think i am just letting off steam, and i now still serve my country in a civilian position , i am totally pro army and i think if you want to preserve your freedom and what you have then serve proudly and shut up.
The decision makers are either ignorant to the fact, or choosing to ignore the fact that there are inherent differences between components. Once brought on Active Duty and putting a civilian career on hold, it is ludicrous to expect a Reserve Component Soldier to give up a home, have a spouse leave her/his career, pull the kids out of school, and move the family in order to serve on Active Duty for 180 or more days? Afterwards, go back home and start all over again. I'm hoping somebody wakes up. This is going to have a significant impact on the Army's ability to sustain the mission in the National Capitol Region and other areas unable to provide Government/ Installation housing. Those that believe this is a fair and equitable solution are certainly not those effected by it and not those who are adequately informed. I'm glad to hear others share my concerns and glad this is getting the attention it deserves.
1Lt Robert Evans
to implemenmt this policy in the middle of a 365 day tour is disgusting. I paid to drive here, I paid to move my stuff here, I paid for an hotel for 2 weeks while my orders were delayed. NOw I am told that on Jan 31st I can PCS or accept 55% per diem. I soent almost $7000 of my own money to get myself, my family and my stuff here. Now I have to move again becuase the current place I live is more expensive then the per diem will be. Well Hey.. If I PCS do all the PCS entiltlements come into play? Maybe I can reciopup some travel expenses, back per diem pay, POV cost, DITY move costs, 10 days of permissive TDY to find a new house, DLA (dislocation allowance), TLE and then they (read the tax payer) can pay it all again when my PCS orders expire in 6 more months. Stupid. I didnt take this job for the money I had a higher paying civilian job. But I did take the job knowing that the money wouldnt be too far off what I as making. Now my salary will be significantly lower. BAH is not paid onm a PCS move so now I need to go home and sell my house? will I get more permissive TDY to handle that?
This is NOT a well thought out idea and is just another example of screwing over soldiers in the name of [possibly] saving a buck.
ARMY RESERVISTS ORDERED TO FINANCE THE WAR
Whatever happened to "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”? As if wearing the uniform weren't enough of a sacrifice, six years into the Global War on Terrorism, Army reservists find their per diem reimbursement rate for housing and meals slashed in half for the purpose of financing the war. This disgraceful amendment to Temporary Change of Station (TCS) policy requirements applies to more than 16,000 United States based Army reservists currently serving active TCS tours of 180 days or more.
The active military is unable to secure the nation's defense without reservists. We are the Citizen Soldiers, called for temporary duty to meet the Army's contingency needs. We left jobs, families, homes and mortgages, and were sent to perform military service, frequently situated in high cost of living areas, where government lodging is not available, and where we had no choice but to settle for transitory and expensive living accommodations. While living in temporary housing, our daily lives are entirely reliant upon the local economy. While the Army halves our reimbursements, our costs of living continue to rise. A reservist's commitment to remain on tour receives approval only after there is concurrence with the Army’s mandated cut otherwise the consequence is a release from active duty. Rarely has the price of a Soldier’s loyalty and patriotism been paid for with such parsimony.
The Army's formula, which previously covered the cost of housing and meals, now is insufficient to cover housing. Under these circumstances, we are forced to re-locate our housing at a farther distance from our workplaces since the costs of moving, rent, security deposits, furniture rental, utilities, and meals will not be covered by the reduced reimbursement amount. There is no prospect that landlords and mortgage lenders will re-negotiate leases and loans to half of what was originally agreed. In addition, we will be required to exhaust well earned leave time in order to move and to have installed utilities and essential services. Our longer commutes will further clog already congested roadways and sully already poor air quality.
In the planning to cut per diem allowances, the Army had ample time to provide us with housing, meals, and transportation by supplying a mess, constructing quarters or by contracting for lodging support. Instead, Reserve Soldiers are being castigated by having their wallets drained.
WHERE IS THE SAVINGS? There is no evidence of a cost study that supports the cut. The real costs to the Army and Nation will be reflected in the brain drain that will result when we are required to return home, the loss of confidence in the Army leadership that forced this policy upon us, and the lowered morale for those Soldiers obliged to remain while expensive contractors fill the jobs of Soldiers released from active duty.
Common sense would be to reverse this badly conceived policy but it is possible only if you speak out for us. We lack the power to advocate for ourselves. Yet you have that power; it is only through your voice that the plight of Reservists can be heard and their full allowances restored.
Patriotic Citizen Soldier
This is a disaster in the making for both the Army and the Soldier. As a 05, I figure I will LOSE almost $27,000 in after tax cash in one year along under this program. I am retired from Civ and the Army so I can afford this BUT the E7 and the 02 who wants to serve CANNOT. Its all about the almighty dollar. I asked an 06 at the post I agreed to go to (in retd status on active duty) and when I told him I would lose what some would consider a lot of money, his 13 word response was "no TCS, only PCS if you want to come here. Let me know". This is from a Chief of Staff of the installation. Talk about "Taking Care of Soldiers?". NOT! as the kids would say. And we want to add 50,000 Soldiers to the Force?? No way ...
Just an update on what this has cost and the problems incurred so far:
We moved from a small furnished apartment to a SMALLER unfurnished apartment that will meet the 55% per diem rate.
Had to spend hours of work time getting utilities, cable, internet organized and find an apartment.
Took a 4 day pass to move.
Had to buy a bunk bed for my kids
Had to buy mattresses for the bunk bed. (The extra room is too small for two beds).
Had to rent furniture (all our furniture is in storage in California)
I will end up paying for the furniture myself $335/month as it won't fit into the 55% TDY lodging rate.
Parking-not included in rent. $100-month for two cars I'll pay this too. Might have to sell one car.
Had to buy kitchenware to include pots/pans, dishes, silverware. cups glasses. coffeemaker, toaster, wooden spoons spatulas etc.
My estimate so far of what VOLUNTEERING to take this job will cost me:
$7000 to move myself, family and basic items here.
$20K difference in pay between civilian job and current pay.
$5000 future pay cut after Jan 31st when policy takes effect.
$7000 to move family back home after my year.
$500 for furniture and kitchen items that weren't rentable (so far).
$2500 Total for 8 months of furniture rentals.
Not to mention the freaking nightmare of moving the family YET AGAIN!
This policy has seriously damaged my family's financial stability.
Thanks for looking out for the soldiers 'Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs)'.. Hey, can you spare a buck or $42,000? oh wait..... I'll actually get about $125.00 back for my 'flight home'
I am proud to serve but I am disgusted with this policy. I believe sacrificing the costs of moving, my pay cut for leaving my civilian job and relocating for a year were enough. But to incur an additional cut of $7000 to $10,000 in pay is a slap in the face.
I'll stop griping now. I just wanted people to know how this policy actually affects a military family.... Oh yeah.. the new smaller apartment sucks. My wife and kids miss our modest house back home and this policy pretty much was the nail in the coffin of future TDY tours for me (us).
I hope others continue to sound off here.
I concur. Also, having to go thru the Army Lodging Success Program for the DC/MDW area is a failure. I was just issued a SNA for only the first 25 days of a one-year order. Apparently, I am supposed to go find someplace near the Pentagon for $106 per day (that is the 55% rule in action)...and at some point late in the first 25 days, expect to receive direction from them to move somewhere else. When I called them to seek help in securing a 25 day rental at $106 per night in my duty area, they advised me that they were not sure how to help me...because they usually deal with normal TDY travellers...who are on 100% per diem!! Incredible!!!!!
I have been further advised that I should expect to be moved into a contracted lodging building in the DC area - and they provided the names of four of them. I called one in Arlington, seeking a place to live for about 25 days, and was advised the government pays them $115 per night for soldiers on TCS orders to DC/MDW area. $115 is more than $106...so the real truth here is that if I was just left alone to secure my own furnished quarters, I could do it for less than what the government is paying the owners of these old apartment buildings!! Look on Craigslist...you will see 1-2 bedroom apartments, fully furnished, with utilities, for less than $3100 per month - the approximate 55% max monthly reimbursement rate. This would be for a place I could choose...at or walk to metro station location, etc., and not some old blown-out property in the Fort Belvoir Area or Springfield.
Exact same thing happened to me (Lodging Success Program) issued me an SNA through some odd day in February. I was able to find a place that rents out (sublets) furnished corporate style apartments that were willing to fluctuate my daily charges equal to 55% lodging perdiem...for the duration of the year and I am reimbursed the full amount on my travel claim, even in July and August when the DC area perdiem drops. I was lucky to find this deal, I am hopeful others will be so lucky. HOWEVER, I am not aware of anyplace willing to do this month to month incase Army Lodging finds a place. Now, my question no one has an answer for...should Lodging "Success" find something available during anytime of the year, will I be required to break my lease and move? I'm hoping the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act applies and I can break the lease without penalities. What a cluster-&*^$ this whole policy is creating.
Yes, Lodging Success has the authority to direct you to move from where you are into different quarters that they define. Or, you may luck out and be allowed to stay put for your tour.
There is a wonderful, understanding, and very helpful person in the Huntsville, AL Lodging Success office - Ms. Yvonne Bowden. Recommend you (and anyone else reading this) call her ASAP and plead your case. They receive the next block of 20 or so rooms/condo apartments on/about 3 Feb 2008.
Lets also not forget, that AC soldiers still retain their full per diem rate. Now I think why would I volunteer to be mobilized and spend time back on Active Duty, if I'm not treated fairly. I am attached to a Training Brigade that spends at a minimum 8 mos out of the year away from my home station. We have AC, Reserve and National Guard (OWT's) attached to my Brigade. AC soldiers are good to go, but the volunteers get screwed again. I will definitely think twice about extending again.
Is there any truth to the rumors that this policy derived from some GO in the pentagon getting pissed because somebody on TDY shot their mouth off about being able to buy a new house in the DC area on their TDY monies; that this 'new' policy was meant to punish those non-AC personnel on TCS orders? Somebody tell me this isn't true? I am on TCS orders at CENTCOM and I'm curious how someone in the lodging office at MacDill is going to find me a place for 48 bucks a night when everyone knows what the JTR says is the 'true' per diem rate and that is what Housing contracts for and that is what the Tampa housing market expects. I'll know soon because I'm going to see them (Housing) tomorrow. Also, The latest memo I saw puts this policy in effect the end of March 08. I say on 1 April, there'll be all kinds of IG complaints and congressionals started.
Yup same thing happened to me. I was out of the Army (in IRR) for a few years, I have been wearing a uniform that says US ARMY for 20 years. I started to feel guilty and voluteered for a tour, hard not to I was getting calls every other week from HRC. I was assigned a tour 2500 miles from my home. I was surprised when I reported to my duty station and found out that I was getting only BAH while other previously mobilized soldiers were getting BAH and TDY. The BAH is $500 less than my mortgage, taxes and insurance on my house. So now I am finding it very difficult, I am just about living out of my car as I can not afford an apartment. "This is crazy what the hell was I thinking". I should have known the Army would put the screws to you if you do not volunteer for OCONUS tours. If anyone is even considering volunteering "DO NOT UNLESS" you get the waiver for 55% up front, just get out its not worth it.
Reservists are indeed being ordered to finance the war....
If its a decision of going to serve in the Army just remember they don't care. I am proud I serve but I am not proud of those I serve under.
Per Willy's comment - Last I checked Willy: "Vietnam is still commmunist!!!!" maybe if your year group had volunteered for extra tours we would have won that one.
Ah that was cheap shot, sorry bud thank you for serving, but seriously this war is being fought and maintained by career reservists who have other commitments beyond the Army. The DOD should recognize that fact!
I'm an active duty soldier that has been on TCS orders now for 2 years with no end in site. Every time one order ends they just cut a new order starting over for another year. We do not receive the full per diem rate any more than our fellow reservist and national guard soldiers do that work with us with the exception that after a year they get to go back home to their families while we get to spend another year here. Our government lodging is 25 miles away from where we have to report to work daily. All of the partial per diem I'm getting is going to gas money. I'm told that we have a GSA van that we are all supposed to car pool in, but that is impossible when we are covering down on a BN of deploying troops with 6 different training events per day unless we are all to go in at the earliest time a company starts training and stay until the latest time the last company ends training. These times vary from 4 am til 3 am at times (yes I meant all night long til 3 am). Now we are being told that we will get issued meal cards which supposedly won't affect our per diem we get. Just wanted all you reserves and NG OWTs to know that you aren't the only ones getting screwed! By the way, if you happen to see my wife and kids tell them I said hello, if they even remember who I am.
Can anyone direct me to where the actual policy is? I recently volunteered for a tour and was put on 31 day ADT orders that were then extended to 60 day orders and finally to 200 day orders with a clause for PCS that says my per diem will stop and I am now authorized to move my family and household goods. Based on this info, what else am I entitled to? Am I also entitled to Permissive TDY to go house hunting? Should I now be getting the BAH for here and not my home station? Any other input?
HQDA requires a locally made form to be completed that spells out what you are entering into if you request orders for >180 days and decline a gov't funded PCS move. It says two critical things - that you must go thru Lodging Success for your 1-year housing needs in the MDW area, and that you agree to 55% per-diem. There is one bright spot - I don't pay rent out of pocket and then wait months for DFAS-IN to reimurse me - the Army pays the condo directly. $32 per day in meals pr-diem, when comined with my normal monthly subsistence allowance (BAS) is proving more than adequate to eat on. Another officer where I serve is 3-4 months behind in DFAS reimursements for his rent.
I will write again after I see my end of month LES. I am hoping that I receive 100% per diem for meals, as others I know of are receiving.
Important update: ALACART Message 030-2008, dated 140048Z FEB 08 clarifies all confusion about entitlements. Basically, if on > 180 days in DC Area, and you elect TDY 55% option, you get 100% of meals per-diem money ($61 per day) if Army Lodging Success Program had put you in contracted quarters. If you get a waiver and rent your own place, you get 55% of the $61 per day. This message also goes into great detail for every other type of situation with regards to orders type, length, and housing / meal options on and off installations.
Google US Army PPG to nav to the complete Personnel Policy Guidance - source documentation for all mob policies. A must read before requesting orders.
Be thankful you are getting any per-diem. If you are on ADSW/FTNG you do not get any.
I will admit I wouldn't have taken this particlar tour if there wasn't 15/day loding avail 30 mins away. I only live 3 hours from my home so I can go home a couple times a week.
Another reason NOT to join the Army over the other branches of service. I am working in a joint command, our counterparts continue to live on the economy and are authorized full per-diem. Air Force and Navy personnel on orders for any length of time, and any number of extensions are still authorized and drawing full per-diem. Leave it to someone who never wore the uniform to implement this...
Let's be careful here - TCS orders >180 days come in two versions - selectable by the soldier requesting the orders. #1 is a funded PCS move. #2 is the reduced per-diem FOR LODGING. If you take the ime and read the ALACART message, or the source documentation (the PPG), you will see that you still receive 100% per diem for meals if you go through Army Lodging Success to arrange your quarters. This in addition to getting paid BAH for your PLEAD (where you normally live), BAS, and a $250 month family separation allowance.
I can't speak intelligently to other types of orders, like ADSW, FTNG, etc.
The CPT probably should not have expected TDY $$ on those types of orders. I never experienced that in 24+ years in the ARNG.
I say again - READ THE PPG AND THE ALACART MESSAGE BEFORE YOU INITIATE ORDERS!
This whole thing is pretty simple. The Active Components in DC (a few select COL) have nothing better to do that conduct a witch hunt against the Reservists on active duty and push their agendas in a questionable manner. Of course they found a basic platform to stand on to save the "Govment" money.
For the sake of saving money why shouldn't the policy extend to all active duty on TDY at 55%. This would require all active components to pay out of pocket half your hotel expense when traveling. (Oh my God we couldn't do that to the poor Regular Army Active Duty soildiers). Think how much money the Army would save by implementing this policy army wide. Shouldn't the people driving this policy do a GAO study comparing the savings of overall cost to "Govment" for Reservists on TDY and the overall cost of all Active Duty on TDY and see which one is higher. What's happened is making this a money saving endeavor by discriminating against Army Reserves and Army National Guard.
Shame on the people behind this and it's just another example of how the Active Components treat soilders. They talk a good talk about caring for soldiers but don't deliver. I'm proud to be an Army Reservists.
I've run into a major problem with my USPFO. They are willing to pay my 50 man ADOS (formerly ADSW) team TDY only if we are title 10. They claim that all of the provisions listed for TDY or TCS apply only to title 10 and NOT title 32. Anyone have any input?
PFO's are pretty senior and smart officers...but I think the real issue is about the definition of TDY. Ask to see the written reference that he is quoting.
If you are getting gov't quarters and Gov't meals, then you might just get the small "residual" per-diem.
Call another state or a USAR unit..get a second and third opinion!
Okay, So am a RC was on orders was granted an extension started 15 Dec for another 215 days. My orders say 55% but nothing about Army Lodging Sucess program. So do I get 55% of Lodging and full MI&E or 55% of both max. I was prudent and a good person of the Army's money and only gettign 700 a month for rental instead of the max of 3000.00 a month. So no3w I get it on the other end and lose 45% of my meals now?
Message has been replaced and recinded. New one ALACART 53-2008 041902Z MAR 08
So what is the final verdict, MSG Anonymous, will you get the 55% or 100%?
I read all of your comments and I am just as pissed as all of you about how this policy very DELIBERATELY screws over reservists who volunteer for tours. I would agree that someone high up in the chain of command and/or ASA (M&RA) - (the policy makers) were getting pissed about reservists "getting over" especially as a result of a number of fraud cases as a result of the (previous) TDY situation (yes, some "bad apples" were buying homes w/ their TDY money and cheating the system by playing games with the figures and pocketing more money than entitled to) Clearly the decision makers wanted to put a stop to the "abuses" and set into play some very restrictive policies to put a squeeze on reservists on TDY. Remember when the policy first came out you needed a 2-star waiver to even get TDY at 55% (and other restrictive caveats) but over time "they" realized the initial policies were stupid and changed them. Now a waiver is not required but they are still pushing the PCS option and screwing over those who they can't provide billets for...(if you get a Lodging Success (LS) solution, you get "free" housing and 100% of M&IE (meals). Here in DC, that's $64 bucks a day--tax free. But, (and here's how they are "forcing" the issue of using Lodging Success and F------ over soldiers): If you can't get a place from LS and they have to provide you with a statement of non-availability (SNA), you will only get 55% of your MEAL allowance...($35 here in DC) --how does that make any sense??...the army can't find you a place to stay, you need to get your own place and then not only do you need to pay up front and wait for reimbursement, you get screwed out of HALF of your meal allowance. Make no mistake, such a policy is not an error or oversight...it is a calculated and deliberate method to force an issue and send a message. By NOT giving you full M&IE, they are ensuring that you keep going back to try and get a place from LS even if you got an initial SNA and your own "solution". Simply it is "TAB"...Typical Army B---S---. As another writer noted, the other services are not doing this. So even beyond the nuanced 55% / 100% SNA / LS meal reimbursement issues, the army is fundamentally unfairly treating soldiers vs. other services--can you say double standard in the DOD that's supposed to be about Equal opportunity & treatment ?? The real irony here is like several already realized: this was never truly analyzed or "studied" and it really is not more cost effective than if soldiers negotiated their own lodging situations. Sadly, the army lodging people are such pathetic negotiators, they are paying 55% or more for their contracted rooms/apartments. (with their buying power and clout, the army should be able to get huge blocks of apts where ever they want for WELL BELOW 55% ! (I got an SNA so I negotiated a BRAND NEW 1-bedroom apartment 3 blocks from the Pentagon with high end amenities and even Marriott Hotel points (Execustay) for 55%)--most of the army provided places are old dumps that are much further out. If I went with this property directly (no Marriott points), I could get the same type of apt for about $1000 less than the 55% rate--why can't the government (army) negotiate that and REALLY save some money. Unfortunately, as several already noted, this whole business is not about taking care of soldiers at all...but then again, it rarely is and never was--I've been doing this for a long time and sadly, the army leads the pack in NOT taking care of their people: my Dad was a Korean war vet and HE told me to go into the Air Force b/c as he said "the army sucks"...I told MY son when he was considering an academy to go in the Air Force b/c I learned long ago "the army doesn't take care of their people", but of course he didn't listen and went to West Point... As for me, I need to decide if it is more important (& cost effective) to be in my situation and keep getting my Marriot Hotel points or the increase in meal allowance (move out of my nice place and into a LS provided solution but get $870 more (M&IE) a month). If you are a "geographic" bachelor or bachelorette, this is not the end of the world. You'll have a decent place to stay and enough money for food. If you moved or have to move a family to your TDY location, (whether or not you opt for PCS) you are not going to be fairly compensated--that sucks and I feel for you and wish the army was better about these things but its not and I'm certain it is not going to change. Serving is a noble and just cause you can be proud of but the army is a "thankless lover" and does not make it easy--I hope you stay in but understand if you leave if you are experiencing real financial hardship.
Well said. I am awaiting my 3/08 reimbursement from DFAS. A rumor is circulating that those of us in LSP-provided housing are only going to get 55% for M&IE effective 1 April 08.
You speak so well...why don't you send HQDA or the DoD IG your thoughts?
Hey Mr. "ASA (M&RA)" That's ok, I'll get by and manage to keep my home at the sametime. I'll just give "55%" effort rather than "100%". I hope you receive sometype of reward or recognition for your stellar insight and keeping us army reserve folk inline. Really, who do we think we are expecting full perdiem like every other government or military individual who is on temporary duty away from home? Ahhh the nerve... Next time why don't you try fighting the wars and meeting all the missions CONUS and OCONUS without us? Think of the money you will save?
My husband is going to be stationed at Ft Jackson in September. It's called a TDY and he's a 01 2LT. Would I be able to go with him?
Well, with everything that is going on, not only do the reservists have to foot there own bill to work and help out, you get no support. It is like nobody cares either. For all the men and women of the Armed Services that stepped up to the plate in a time when our country really needed us, I am ashamed at what is and has taken place.
I heard that the cause of this was a certain retired Admiral at centcom who made many changes himself at his office. Not 1oo% sure, just what has been going around. Regardless it is terrible to happen. I heard it was to trim the fat at Centcom, where a staff of 1500 ballooned to over 6000. Thus by offering less money we will see lots of attrition. 1/3 layoffs across the board as well. Yea, that was well thought out.
We all know that rental units all of a sudden jump up to maximum perdiem in Tampa. On MAJ went off his orders and volunteered for CO-TTAD which rescinded his TDY, so the same place he was renting for full perdiem wanted him to stay and thus cut his rent in half! So now we have the renters doing the thievery and not the soldier.
YES you can buy a house with your perdiem money, there is a way to legally do it, ask housing. But you actually get more money if you take your rental unit and buy on the side rather than buy outright. that math is as strange as airplane ticket costs, but it is there in black and white. They give you the way to get it but there is no need to wag it in anyone's face.
With BAH, CZTE, TDY and all the other acronyms I make more than my O6 does. He blames the fact that he is AD PCS and I an IRR TDY. Maybe so, but I don't get a paycheck next month if I retire. I have to wait another ten years. He can draw anytime he wants to go.
I heard it has not kicked in yet. Someone needs to post here if it does. It is not going to be pretty to have this affect ARMY ONLY while the other services can still draw full TDY. neck I'll transfer services and drop two stripes off and still come out shining.
RESERVISTS BEWARE OF DFAS-IN !!!
I have been on CO-ADOS / GWOT Orders for 4 months and DFAS-IN still cannot pay me my TDY entitlements correctly. Each month I have to re-submit my 30 day DD 1351-2 "Accrual" for "Re-Audit". I have spent many hours on the phone with them, as well as many hours auditing the amount the do send me, which has been insufficient 100% of the time!!
Go into your duty period with the mindset that DFAS is clueless on how to pay TDY in place. Expect them to be months behind paying you what you are owed, and plan your financial situation accordingly. I serve with other USAR officers that are owed thousands of dollars - some of it from duty performed more than one year ago!
By the way, I am an 05 that is about two steps away from going to the IG or my congressman if this abomination continues.
At one point DFAS owed me almost $18K. I finally had enough and contacted the SES there. I got paid promptly thereafter. Currently we are on DTS and althugh there were major headaches getting setup it has run smoothly for 2 months now. Reimbursements are being paid within 1 week or less. In regards to the per diem change, it kicked in at the end of March. So far the Govt has cost my family $1700.00, based on what I originally volunteered to work for and the forced pay cut.
C'mon folks! This war is expensive and everybody has to do their part. Maybe a bake sale? Pass the hat? Walkathon?
C'mon?? SIR, Your short and ignorant comment and weak attempt at humor sums up what is wrong with a lot of senior leadership.... Enjoy your retirement Major. I probably speak for the majority of those you (HAVE MOST LIKELY NOT) made an impact on when I say don't let the door hit you on the way out SIR. MSG, U.S. Army
Interesting to note that tours are not being approved over 180 days with any TDY at all. We are being told in TRADOC that if you accept a 1 year mobilization, that you will only receive BAH for your home; no TDY for the mobilization.
I note that the above article was written about one year ago. Army tried to cut TCS payments completely, but then acquiesced to 55%. Now, a year later, they are going back to 100% denial of TCS.
So either there was no AAR performed on the action a year ago, or HRC knows this is a bad decision but just doesn't care how many positions go unfilled because key reserve soldiers can not afford to mobilize.
I have not heard that. Recommend you publish your source here so that it can be verified. I am on 1 year TDY in Place at Pentagon and drawing per diem.
I think it gets down to what type of orders are published. Mine are GWOT/CO-ADOS.
To the short-time 04 - you probably are not aware that the other services did not reduce to 55% per-diem, just the Army.
I am on a current PCS mobilization. My end date is October. Will I get permissive TDY and moving expenses/allowed travel days to move from South Carolina back to my home of record in Maryland?
Permissive TDY is up to your gaining or losing command. With a PCS order, your move will be paid for by the Army. Call DFAS with your orders in hand and ask them, or ask your current unit or higher HQs. Some entitlements are statutory - i.e. the Army cannot take them or limit their use, although I've seen that tried when I was in the assignments/orders business at NGB.
I am providing clarification to my blog, above, regarding TDY changes for Reserve Tours. The ALARACT 053/2008 message states that ANY tour over 180 days now will be a PCS move or on a 55% TDY status. You, of course, have the option to REFRAD due to financial concerns if your tour is already underway and you can not afford to stay on duty w/out full TDY. If the tour supports the Contingency Op (Co-TTAD, Co-ADOS, etc), then you will be offered 55% TDY. If it is Admin-ADOS or similiar, you will be offered 0% TDY--only PCS moves for these tours.
I can not place the link to the ALARACT message into this blog, but if you Google "ALARACT + TDY" you will pull it off the G1 site.
I am getting 100% per-diem for DC area, which is $64 per day. DTS is now paying me on the second day of each month, for the proceeding month. I am in government-contracted commercial lodging. Lodging Success set this up, and the Army pays the rent directly. This is why I get the full per-diem. If you are not in government contracted quarters, you get 55%. This is what one of the officers I work with is getting, as he rents a place on the local economy. This is the correct information regarding how much per-diem you get on CO-ADOS/GWOT orders to the DC area
who, is the subject matter expert for knowing when a reserve soliders reachs over 18y and who currently on orders (cottad)if they can appy for the sanctuary program.
14. Request for Sanctuary for Reservist on Active Duty no longer go to HRC-Alexandria. This function has been moved to HRC-STL ATTN: AHRC-PLM-S - The POC is SGM Burton at 314-592-0000 x 0430 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I need some guidance. Im an AC soldier, TDY enroute (10 weeks tdy at redstone arsenal, AL, and then a PCS to Eglin AFB, FL) and upon arrive in AL, my BAH was canceled. I still maintain a household in TX (I came from ft hood)and pay rent. Finance says that even though Im TDY, because I was assigned a barracks room, Im no longer entitled to BAH. Is that correct? i was under the impression that TDY for a DA school wouldnt take BAH away. Is finance ate up or am I, and where would i find the regs that apply? Thank you for any help/guidance you can give me!
Your post is a few days old, so if you have this resolved, please disregard. I don't have a solid answer for you, but my "gut" tells me that if you haven't officially PCS'd yet...and are only in AL because you are TDY then you SHOULD still be entitled to BAH. If you aren't satisfied with the answer finance is giving you (they haven't showed you in black and white) I strongly encourage you to raise this through your CoC and IG Channel ASAP. I'm hopeful you'll get a positive resolution. I take it you are E5 or E6 and without dependents? Another sore subject...but that might be a reason you are getting screwed "lawfully". Keep your head up and thanks for your service. Good luck at your new assignment and I hope this issue is resolved favorably. MSG Allen
I'm about to go to MD on <180 TDY orders. At 55%, I can't even affort a Motel 6 in this area while I search for other housing. I've been given an SNA from Lodging Success. Anyone know whether they'll still help find contracted housing or am I stuck since they gave me an SNA?
Unfortunately, you may be in a bad situation for your housing. They were never trained, manned or missioned to handle the thousands of reservists being directed to use them. Get on their wait list for government contracted housing. Call them frequently. Get the list of contracted properties in the area you need, and contact their management directly, as orders are cut short, people move out early. This is how I got into Oakwood Suites in DC area. Be polite, but persistent. Be aware that if you are not in LS program contracted housing, your meals per diem will also be at 55%. In DC area, this is difference between $64 and $32 per day.
Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately I've just been told that Ft. Meade has NO contracted lodging whatsoever. None. Doesn't even have a plan to get some. Awesome.
Hey, a second thought on your situation...why are you on 55% per diem? I recall the HQDA form I completed said orders >179 days would be at 55% (or a PCS move). <179 days =full per diem. Check with DFAS, IN and/or the first IG in your CofC. I think you will be okay. Post your results here so others can benefit.
Webmaster - the posts from the three individuals above seem to be corrupted - hyperlinks and misc numbers & characters. Please delete these posts
The cutback to 55% is a financial hardship. I have been mobilized since 9/11 and am now paying out of my pocket to serve my country during a time of war. I don't know anyone else, except for Reserve Soldiers, that is being forced to do so.
Did you go through Army Lodging Success Program for your quarters? If so, and you are in contracted housing, you should get 100% of the meals per-diem.
Army Lodging Success Program is NOT working in any sense of the word. Soldiers are spending a month or more on their own dime, in "residence" hotels waiting for per diem. These hotels run between $85 and $115 per night, for something decent. The Lodging Success program is, to be polite, broken.
Soldiers out in the "real" world are being told that they are only recieving 55% no matter what. They are not authorized to contract housing, when housing including utilities, could be had for LESS than the per diem.
So, with all due respect, sir, tell me, how the hell is someone supposed to survive taking these tours?
I disagree. Lodging Success is working, at least here in the DC area. They have recently added additional apartments in nice buildings in Arlington, Crystal City, etc.
I think you need to be more clear in what you post here. Soldiers get reimbursed for lodging, so it is not on their "own dime" permanently, only until they get reimbursed.
Any soldier, regardless of rank, fills out a pre-mob form that clearly spells out the 55% rule and the requirement to use Army Lodging Success program. If a soldier goes into contracted housing he/she does not pay rent - it is paid by the Army directly to the vendor. While I do personally disagree with only the Army reducing the meals per-diem to 55%, it is only applicable to soldiers that somehow get their own lodging, not done thru Army Lodging Success. In that case, 55% is still adequate to eat on when you consider that BAS is still paid, and there is also a $250 family separation allowance paid also. In DC, 55% of the meals per diem is $32 per day, which equals out to $960 for a 30-day calendar month.
If you are in housing provided by Lodging Success, you get 100% of the meals per-diem money, which is $64 per day. You are provided a kitchen IAW Army standards for long-term housing. If you cannot buy enough food for $1920 tax-free dollars per month, you probably are eating out all the time, which is a personal decision.
I suggest that all soldiers reading these posts carefully review all the conditions of the duty entitlements before volunteering. I do not think this is a hardship if you did the math, volunteered, and now are complaining. Yes, it is "not fair" that only the Army went to 55% meals per-diem. But I get the same meals per-diem $64 per day that USAF, UNS, amd USMC personnel quartered in my building do.
It all gets back to understanding what you are getting into - a personal responsibility, Spec4ret.
I did say "while waiting for per diem", sir. The issue being that it is taking up to 3-5 months for reimbursment. Unless one is an officer, as a rule... I don't think that it's economically feasible. But that's just me.
Having left the DC area in September, for San Antonio, my Fiance and I have been living in a hotel since arrival, awaiting housing. I understand HOW the Sucess program is supposed to work, the problem is that it is not working. We have JUST recieved the FIRST per deim payment. Thanksgiving was a joy. I hope that if you got to go home for the holiday, you appreciated it, because we couldn't afford it. We are still paying out of pocket hotel bills. Am I pissed? Yup. My fiance is a Major with 25+ years in, and has been told that he hasn't a clue what he is doing where this mob is concerned. He has been taking these tours since 2005. We have both been enlisted, so economizing isn't an issue either.
With all due respect, sir, we both have a clue as to what we are doing. And the truth of the matter is, we can find an apartment, turn on the utilities, and rent furniture and live very comfortably on the 55% of per diem. IF WE WERE ALLOWED TO DO SO. But this program will not allow it. Instead, we are stuck, paying for a hotel, our household goods, such as they are, still unpacked, fighting for the per diem pay that is due, every month.
And by the way... as someone who lived in the DC area... Arlington and Crystal City are lovely areas... about a 1.5-2 hour commute to DC... but lovely areas... and just perfect for the Reservists... they don't need anything closer... it's not they are a "REAL" military....
I think I am going to end this subject line now, since you brought rank (officer vs enlisted) into it. If you believe officers get treated differently by DFAS, you are wrong. Myself, and officers like me, have all battled the DFAS monster, so lose the bad attitude, it will be counterproductive to getting your situation corrected.
I hope you get your finances straightened out with DFAS. I agree that they should not be 3-5 months behind in reimbursing you. But why are you paying out of pocket? Did you even think to ask why you cannot get a place to live where the Army pays the property directly. This is what I am in, here in DC (which by the way...is about a 3-7 minute commute to DC, not like you described).
I recommend you go to the IG if you have not done so already. I also recommend you start using DTS if possible in your situation.
One final recommendation - I'd be more careful of what you mean to say, and what you actually say. I only want to help others here, even if they are "disgruntled".
Best of luck.
Discruntled SPEC 4-
If you shoot me an e-mail from your AKO to mine... email@example.com I'd like to gather some details and see if I can help. I hate to see a fellow reservists get screwed and if it is really as bad as you describe I will dive into this issue with you headon.
However, I do have to tell you that your living arrangements and talk of shipping household goods... among other things has me a little confused.
I also want to warn you concerning you and your fiance's prohibited relationship as well as your tone.
But, all that aside, I hope things work out and e-mail me if you want my help.
Hello:) I have a question about this whole thing. If one is on tcs orders for 365 days,and army success program can not find a contracted apartment for you to live, how do they divide 55% per diem, for example... rock island arsenal illinois has no government quarters or dining facilities and ASP does not find you contracted quarters... do you get 55% of the total $109 for per diem which already includes lodging and incidentals in the $109. or do they divide 55% of lodging which is $70 and 55% of meals, which pretty much is close to $109;)...lol
Basically, if Army success finds me a contracted apartment,I would then get full per diem at $36 a day? If they didn;t have contracted housing, I would basically get 55% of the $109?
disregard the last question, I meant 55% of $36 dollars.
The way the language is written I interpret it to be 55% of the maximum lodging expense AND 55% of the authorized for meals.
Some advice, Don't refer to yourself as "just a PFC". What ever your mission and the role you play is important. Besides that, where do you think future NCO's, Senior NCO's and Sergeants Major come from?
Good luck at Rock Island if you are heading that way.
I've heard recent studies have proven just what critics of this policy said would happen.
Since the implementation of this policy...it has cost an average of $19,000 MORE per Soldier, per Year.
As I have stated earlier in this blog: Way to go Mr. "ASA (M&RA)"
If they let us arrange our own lodging for long-term TDY orders, we could save the government thousands. Paying $110 per day for a one bedroom condo thru Army Lodging Success program costs more than what I could find myself on the local market in zip code 22209.
All posters and readers - make sure you periodically read the latest Personnel planning Guidance and ALCART messages for updates. See my previous posts for more G2 on that.
Sir, do you expect changes soon? Perhaps rescinding this poorly thoughtout policy all together?
I am currently mobilized. when getting tcs I wanted my car so I drove across the country. Which the gave me the cost of a plane ticket. Which was only 300.00 when gas prices where 2.75 a gallon. But hey it was my choice. Now here there is no time for us to eat in the mess hall. Here is an example of a work day for me. On range at 7 am, got home at 1030 pm. I dont get MRE's. But now I can get an SNA just for food. There are no stoves to cook on, the fridge is a hotel one ( ity bitty). Because of my job I have to be there 30-45 mins before my class, stay durning chow and leave 30-45 mins after them. So tell me. Why does the Army not want to give me an SNA just for food? If thats the case then I should be able to eat in the mess hall for at least 1 meal a day. Think my CO wants to shut down training so some of us can eat? For those that think us reservist dont do much I maybe get 2-3 days offs a month and I work 11 hour days if not longer. Most of those days I don't get breaks for lunch and dinner. We push threw, and keep going. Way to take care of soldiers.
I heard the Army was doing away with SNA's my NCO is trying to get those of us who dont have one an sna but with no success. I need that money. If I don't get an SNA then sadly to say They need to provide me time and food.
Also the 55% is 55% of hotel...and another 55% of meals they are two seperate things so, if your meals are 64.00 a day the you get 35.20 a day and if hotel is 130 a day then you 55% of that. But if you have a hotel for say 30 a day then you only get 30 dollars you don't get to pocket the extra cash sorry. But that is fair. But you do get 2.00 a day for laundry. Thats an extra 60-62 a month. I travel a lot in my unit. I also see Officers, NCO, soldiers a like getting taking advantage of.
Has anyone done an IG complaint or a congressional yet?
New subject: Receiving BAH for your home of record, but renting it out while on MOB Tour.
Is there a reference that addresses keeping your BAH for your house if you rent it while on TCS/CO-ADOS MOB orders, and are provided government contracted housing at your duty station?
This policy is absolutely crazy. I have an assigned apartment and receive 64.00 per day for food. The rent on the apartment is approx 1500.00 per month. I have my family here so I am paying rent on another place (the assigned apartment is 1 bedroom). Why can't the military give me the 1500.00 that they are paying for the apartment instead of forcing me to take housing I don't want and can't use? I am not asking for the policy to be reversed (although that is what should happen) but just to use common sense. If the military is contracting for apartments and the average is 1500.00 give the servicemembers the option to take the apartment or the money. servicemembers with family, pets, ect have no use for a one bedroom apartment. Has anyone talked to their Congressman concerning this? Any IG complaints? I would be interested to know the details. Thanks.
You people are killing me! Even at the old rate of 70.00 lodging 39.00 meals & incidentals that means a take home of 1,798.50 a month plus your BAH based on your home of record based on 55%. Don't want to hear it guys I have been doing TCS since I got back from Iraq in 06. I'm tired of seeing people try to make a living off per diem. You'd never get a job that pays for your housing (tax free to boot) and also pays your expenses (again tax free). For those people saying they're losing 25,000 for volunteering for these tours, I'm calling bullshit!! Man the F up or go home! I'm tired of you jackasses!!
"Man the F up?" "jackasses".
Although you are protected by posting anonymously...consider who you are addressing. Field Grade Officers, Warrant Officers and Senior NCOs.
You may or may not believe that Army Reserve Soldiers in a TDY status shouldn't be treated like all the other branches of service, shouldn't be treated like all other government agency employees, and shouldn't be treated in accordance with the Joint-Travel Reg. Regardless of your opinion, a little more respect and military bearing is in order.
MSG Brian Allen
Does anyone know anything about the per diem if you are on 365 ADOS tour at the NGB. Do you get the options of recieving 55% HOR per diem w/ Goverment Contracting Housing or 55% BAH % BAS in the Virginia?
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