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Transition Assistance

Transition Assistance

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) prepare eligible service members and their families to face the many challenges of transitioning from active duty back to civilian life. TAP enables Sailors to fulfill the requirements of the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2012 and meet their Career Readiness Standards (CRS) as mandated by the TAP for Military Personnel Department of Defense Instruction 1332.35

Service members receive training through the Transition GPS (Goals, Plans, Success) curriculum, which includes a core 5-day curriculum and individual training tracks focused on Accessing Higher Education, Career Technical Training and Entrepreneurship. Transition GPS is facilitated in a classroom setting and also available through Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) at any time for Service members deployed or stationed in isolated areas. Military spouses are highly encouraged to attend Transition GPS with their transitioning Service member.

Transitioning Sailors and their families will receive valuable resources and referrals from many of the military support agencies and civilian partners to include the Department of Labor, Department of Veterans Affairs, Small Business Administration and the Fleet and Family Support Centers.

History of Transition

In 1990, Congress established a program to assist transitioning service members due to the mandate reduction in forces. The task was led by the United States Army called the Army Career Alumni Program (ACAP). Shortly after in 1991, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) established the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and set forth 10 U.S.C, 1142, in means of minimizing any hardships of Service members transitioning from military to civilian life.

TAP is overseen by Office of Secretary Defense (OSD) and is a partnership with the following agencies:

  • Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Department of Education (DOE)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
  • Transition to Veterans Program Office (TVPO)


In 2011, the recommendations from the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force’s, the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act’s mandates resulted OSD to redesign TAP to ensure that Service members and their families are better prepared to transition from the military.

From the VOW, emerged the Hire Heroes Act that makes several components of the Transition program mandatory for all eligible service members who served at least 180 continuous days of active duty. From the outcome of the VOW, TAP was restructured to Transition GPS (Goals, Plans, Success).

Transition GPS is made up of Pre-Separation Counseling, 5-Day Workshop, Optional Career Tracks and Capstone to provide Service members with information about post-military benefits, financial planning, career decision-making, education and certification & training resources.

In 2014, Transition GPS evolved and adopted the Military Life Cycle (MLC) model, so that transition assistance is a continuum through Service members’ careers. Within the MLC model, Service members are provided with an in-depth individual transition financial planning methodology.

While participating in Transition GPS workshops, Service members and their families are encouraged to take advantage of the additional trainings that best suits their career path from the military into civilian life.

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