How Budget Cuts Will Impact Your PCS


Beware – if you’re gearing up for a PCS in the next few months, getting all those nagging details squared away with the transportation office could take longer than usual, DoD moving officials tell us.

That’s because base transportation offices will be even more understaffed than usual thanks to the employee furloughs required by the budget cuts.

Officials with the Defense Personal Property Program (DP3), which oversees all PCS moves across the DoD and Coast Guard, said the best thing families can do is plan as far ahead as possible and exercise a little patience. They said the slowdown won’t impact whether you can move or not – just the timing for getting it done.

“Worst case scenario we are anticipating it might just take a longer time to get information or get those moves booked,” said John Johnson, a deputy chief of staff at DP3. “Anything you can do to prepare ahead of time would be important so you can save some time.”

That means hitting up the transportation office as soon as you have orders in hand, attending the required briefings as early as possible and not procrastinating on anything move related. Know that lines might be longer and workers might be slower – so plan accordingly.

And it won’t just be military families waiting longer for information, Johnson said. The companies contracted to do the actual moves will have to wait for communication and bookings, too.

But just because the slowdown at the transportation office won’t keep you from moving doesn’t necessarily mean your planned PCS is safe. For example, budget cuts have impacted the number of slots available at schools across the services while the drawdown is changing the needs of the military. One family out of Fort Campbell recently took their house off the market when, thanks to sequestration, a hold was put on their planned early Jun move to the Defense Language School in Monterey, Calif.

Worried that your PCS may be canceled entirely? It may be time to ask your spouse to talk to his command to get a feeling for just what may be coming down the road.

Because where any PCS is concerned – during sequestration or not – the best thing to do is to make no assumptions and take nothing for granted.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Tegan

    The biggest issue I have found with PCS moves is that you must wait for orders. We have always received our orders and had ten days to move so taking longer could be a really bad thing. Fortunately it has always worked out for us. It’s just more stress.

  • Guest

    So, plan for something you can’t plan for…sounds about right.

    • Bobbi
    • Bobbi
  • Rosalee

    homeporting will become common place in order to save $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    • Brian

      That’s what happened to me in the mid-90’s with all the cutbacks then. I had been in Japan four years at the time. I called about orders and i was told “You’re staying in Japan, here’s what i have available.” I received orders to another nearby base so at least the commute from my housing area was shorter. Ended up being in Japan for 9 yrs.

  • syd090909

    Orders aren’t printing out until days before you are to be moved. More stress is not the answer because it will lead to other problems such as marital, familial, and financial. If the orders could print 30 days out this would give folks the opportunity to move and not get crazy with the move.

  • Steve Hooper

    My question is, how are they going to PCS personnel if all oversea household goods shipments have stopped?

    • AF Officer

      I don’t think its saying that overseas household goods shipments have stopped, rather it might take longer to get all of your authorizations and paperwork to move those household goods through the system. Overseas (I’m on Okinawa and scheduled to move this year), TMO offices are manned more heavily by military personnel or host nationals, therefore some of these delays and undermannings may be less severe here (military and HNs are not affected by sequester). Additionally the $$ to move your HHGs are paid from mil pers accounts (again protected from sequester) so funding being shut off shouldnt be an issue. If you are moving from CONUS to overseas, you may see more delays, so get your orders and counseling into TMO as soon as they drop. I think short notice PCS moves will be most affected by this (the 10 day comment above… yeah good luck with that, you have my sympathies)… if however you get orders 60-90 days, not waiting to get stuff done will go a long way!

  • Coll

    You can go to TMO with web orders. We are not set to PCS until this summer (OCONUS move), but have our dates all set up. We have had web orders since December. Just had to wait for our area clearance.

  • Heather

    My husband just received his RFO (Request for Orders), which officers get before the actual orders. He said he should have his orders by the end of this coming week. At that time we will set up transportation (we are staying CONUS). We plan on scheduling HHG’s pick up the second week of June if all works out. We will see.