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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A budget shortfall that will delay permanent-change-of-station orders during the next few months could leave some sailors scrambling to make it to their next duty station.

Some sailors leaving for another duty station between now and May could have less than two months between the time they receive orders and their report date for their next assignment, according to a Navy Personnel Command memo dated Feb. 8.

Without orders, sailors typically cannot schedule their household goods for shipping, and might have trouble with personal chores, such as registering their children for school and sending their families ahead to their next duty station.

The Navy fully realizes the impact of this uncertainty on our families, the memo states. “We remain committed to providing sailors with as much information and lead time as possible.”

Although lead times vary, sailors typically receive their orders three to six months before their scheduled arrival at their next duty station.

The Navy Personnel Command said it will concentrate on issuing orders for the following priorities: global support assignment rotations, career milestone billets, critical readiness billets, sea duty billets at deployed units and units about to deploy.

Sailors moving through training pipelines also will receive priority, according to the memo, which had not yet been posted to the Navy Personnel Command’s website Wednesday.

The memo — issued by Chief of Personnel Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson — blamed the lack of lead time for sailors on the absence of a permanent 2011 federal budget. The federal government currently is operating under a continuing resolution passed by Congress.

A Navy news release Wednesday noted that the personnel command was running at a 40 percent budget shortfall because of the continuing resolution.

In some cases, sailors moving to an overseas location or with special considerations might be able to get a “letter of intent” that allows sailors without orders to get a jump on their move, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Karen Slowe, Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s command career counselor.

The letter of intent won’t speed up household goods shipments, but can help when family members must be screened for approval, Slowe said.

Slowe recommended that sailors who are given a short period in which to move, should immediately contact their career counselor. “Some people move their families early, so the communication piece with the career counselor and detailer will be really big in helping with the sailor’s planning,” Slowe said.

However, the Navy also appeared concerned about the workload that the backlog on orders may take on its detailers, who assign sailors to their new locations. It noted in its news release that there is only one detailer for every 1,500 sailors, and suggested that sailors with questions either try the personnel command’s website at www.npc.navy.mil, or contact a call center at 1-866-827-5672.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil


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