Transition Assistance for Commanding Officers Frequently Asked Questions
What is Transition Assistance?
In 2011, Congress passed, and the President signed, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act (VOW Act) which made participation in several components of the transition assistance program mandatory for all eligible service members.
Together with the recommendations from the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force, the VOW Act’s mandates resulted in a transition program redesigned to ensure that service members and their families are better prepared to transition from military to civilian life.
Transition Assistance is made up of four parts – Pre-separation Counseling, 5-Day Workshop, Career Tracks and Capstone – all of which will provide service members with information about post-military benefits, certification & training resources, financial planning and job search techniques.
What is the Navy’s Transition Assistance Delivery Model?
The Navy’s Delivery Model for Transition Assistance is a synchronized approach designed to deliver a continuum of integrated services in order to maximize the benefits of interagency and joint interoperability.
This delivery model helps ensure that service members meet Career Readiness Standards during their military service in order to be best positioned for success in the civilian job market after their retirement or separation from the Navy.
A printable version of the Navy’s Transition Assistance Delivery Model can be downloaded at Transition Assistance Resources for Commanding Officers.
What are the Command’s roles and responsibilities?
The commanding officer has oversight responsibility of Transition Assistance and is charged with ensuring separating service members complete the Transition Assistance Program and meet Career Readiness Standards (CRS)) DoDI 1332.35 and OPNAVIST 1900.2C.
Throughout the Military Life Cycle (MLC), commanding officers shall be fully engaged in enabling service members to attain compliance with the VOW to Hire Heroes Act mandates and Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force requirements prior to their retirement or separation.
In order to do so, commanding officers shall,
- Ensure that Transition Assistance components are delivered at key touch points throughout the MLC
- Ensure that service members develop and maintain their Individual Development Plan (IDP)
- Ensure that service members develop and maintain their Individual Transition Plan (ITP)
- Verify that eligible service members have met CRS at Capstone
- Ensure that service members who did not meet CRS are provided a “warm handover” to the appropriate interagency parties or local resource
For more information about Command responsibilities and related polices and guidance, see Transition Assistance Resources for Commanding Officers.
When and where is Transition Assistance?
Check out Transition Assistance Schedules to find out when CONUS and OCONUS installations offer the 5-Day Workshop, Career Tracks and Capstone.
Do all service members have to attend Transition Assistance?
Yes – service members on active duty for more than 180 continuous days are required to participate in the mandatory portions of Transition Assistance (Pre-separation Counseling, 5-Day Workshop and Capstone). Commanding officers shall ensure that transitioning personnel attend Transition Assistance as required by law (NAVADMIN 334/12).
Because Transition Assistance is considered official duty, service members are not required to take leave to attend.
The three Career Track workshops – Accessing Higher Education, Career Technical Training and Entrepreneurship – are important supplements to the mandatory parts of Transition GPS and can help service members meet Career Readiness Standards prior to their retirement or separation.
As part of the 5-Day Workshop, the Department of Labor Employment Workshop (DOLEW) covers many important subjects, including resume writing, and all eligible service members are encouraged to attend. However, attendance at the DOLEW is not mandatory for service members meeting at least one of the following criteria:
- Retiring with 20 or more years of active federal service
- Served their first 180 continuous days or more on active duty AND have documented post-transition employment
- Served their first 180 continuous days or more of active duty AND have documented acceptance into a technical training, undergraduate or graduate degree program
- Have specialized skills needed to support unit deploying in 60 or fewer days (service member’s first commander with UCMJ authority must attest to their need for an exemption on the service member's DD Form2648)
- Wounded, ill, or injured (WII) and recovering & transitioning from active duty AND enrolled in the Education and Employment Initiative, or a similar transition program designed to secure employment, further education or technical training post-separation.
For service members with specialized skills, who due to unavoidable circumstances are needed to support a unit on orders to deploy within 60 days, the first commander in the service member’s chain-of-command must certify on the service member’s eForm 2648 any such request for exemption from the DOLEW. A make-up plan will accompany the postponement certificate (OPNAVINST 1900.2C NAVADMINs 154/14 and 053/13).
Is Transition Assistance considered official duty?
Yes, and because Transition Assistance is considered official duty, service members are not required to take leave in order to attend.
What if the service member is assigned to an isolated location or currently deployed?
If the service member is stationed in an isolated or geographically-separated location (greater than 50 miles from any military installation offering Transition Assistance classes), they can use their Common Access Cards (CAC) to access the virtual curriculum on the Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) portal.
Proactive planning by the commanding officer is essential to ensuring that service members attend Transition Assistance before deployment or are released from deployment early enough to attend prior to their separation. (NAVADMIN 053/13)
If the service member is currently deployed, they can start the transition process by meeting with their Command Career Counselor or Command Transition Officer. The virtual curriculum should only be used when the service member’s separation date is within 60 days or there is no non-virtual Transition Assistance curriculum available upon their return to homeport.
When can the service member begin Transition Assistance?
Service members should schedule a Pre-separation Counseling appointment 18-24 months prior to their retirement, 12-18 months prior to their separation, or – at the very latest – with not less than 90 days remaining on active duty.
Whether it is due to an unanticipated separation or prioritized operational requirements, if the service member has less than 90 days left before their retirement or separation and has not yet completed Transition Assistance, they must complete it as soon as possible within their remaining period of service.
Commanding officers shall ensure that transitioning personnel attend Transition Assistance as required by law (NAVADMIN 334/12).
What are the Career Readiness Standards?
Regardless of what their post-Navy career plans are, the service member will need to meet the Career Readiness Standards (CRS) listed below:
- Complete the DoD standardized Individual Transition Plan (ITP)
- Prepare DoD standardized 12-month post-separation budget reflecting personal/family goals
- Register on eBenefits
- Evaluate transferability of military skills to the civilian workforce (MOC Crosswalk) and complete the DoD standardized Gap Analysis
- Document requirements and eligibility for licensure, certification and apprenticeship regarding career selection
- Complete a job application package or present a job offer letter
- Receive a Department of Labor Gold Card and understand that post-9/11 Veterans have priority for six months post-separation at American Job Centers
- Complete Continuum of Military Service Opportunity Counseling (for Active Component Service members separating with less than 20 years active federal service only).
Sailors interested in beginning a career in a trade or technical field should attend the Career Technical Training (CTT) track workshops offered at Fleet and Family Support Centers. The CTT track helps participating service members meet the following CRS:
- Complete a comparison of training institution choices
- Complete a Career Interest Assessment tool (O*NET Interest Profiler or Kuder Journey)
- Complete a career technical training institution application package or present an acceptance letter
- Confirm one-on-one counseling with a higher technical training institution advisor or counselor.
Sailors interested in continuing their education should attend the Accessing Higher Education (AHE) track workshops offered at Fleet and Family Support Centers. The AHE track helps participating service members meet the following CRS:
- Complete a comparison of academic institution choice
- Complete a Career Interest Assessment tool (O*NET Interest Profiler or Kuder Journey)
- Complete a college or university application package or present an acceptance letter
- Confirm one-on-one counseling with a higher education institution advisor or counselor.
These CRS are also listed on DD Form 2648 Section III.
How does Transition Assistance help service members meet Career Readiness Standards?
During Day-1, Navy Fleet and Family Support Center facilitators will provide service members with an overview of Transition Assistance, as well as discuss transition-related stress and conflict management, review service member’s military training, identify civilian career opportunities and cover the many components of financial readiness. As a result, service members will be better positioned to meet the following Career Readiness Standards (CRS):
- Complete Individual Transition Plan (ITP) Block 1, Sections I – III
- Complete 12-month post-separation spending plan
- Complete Continuum of Military Service Opportunity Counseling (for Active Component Service members separating with less than 20 years active federal service only)
- Complete DoD standardized Gap Analysis
Unless they qualify for an exemption, service members spend the next three days working with the Department of Labor facilitators to prepare for the civilian job market. At the end of the DOL Employment Workshop, service members will be better positioned to meet the following CRS:
- Complete ITP Block 1, Section II and Block 2, Section IV
- Complete a job application package
- Document their eligibility for or requirements they must meet in order to obtain licensure, certification or apprenticeship
- Receive their DOL American Job Center Gold Card
On the last day of the workshop, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilitators will work with service members to make sure they understand what benefits they may be entitled to, including health care, disability compensation and tuition assistance. The VA facilitators will also walk the service members through the eBenefits online portal.
What happens if the service member does not meet Career Readiness Standards?
If the service member’s commanding officer (or designee) believe Career Readiness Standards (CRS) were not met and/or the service member requires additional assistance to successfully transition to the civilian sector, they will arrange for a “warm handover” connecting the service member with an appropriate DoD partner agency that can provide continued benefits, services and support.
Part of the “warm handover” means that the service member will receive the name and contact information for the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Labor personnel who can provide the service member with assistance at their final post-transition destination.
For more information about the “warm handover,” see the DoD Transition Assistance Program Memorandum of Understanding or contact your local Fleet and Family Support Center.
My question was not answered. Where can I find more information?
For more information, check out Transition Assistance Resources for Commanding Officers or contact your local Fleet and Family Support Center.
Updated November 3, 2020