Commentary | March 12, 2021

What you need to know about transfer season 2021

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Brian McCrum, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard has new information about the upcoming Assignment Year specifically for members and their families who are transferring in, as well as commands, supervisors, and SPO/ADMIN offices to assist in planning, preparing for, and executing PCS orders.

These are the major updates:

  • Administrative absence of up to 10 days for purpose of PCS relocation and familiarization (house hunting) has returned to pre-pandemic status.
  • PCS Float Plans are not required for some moves as outlined below.
  • PCS Assist Team composition information updated as outlined below.
  • Canada/Alaska information updated as outlined below.
  • The national COVID-19 pandemic affected the 2020 PCS season, but through good risk mitigation the Coast Guard successfully transferred 11,958 members. This PCS season will also be impacted by the pandemic, however, we will  build on lessons learned last year and use the following business practices for PCS 2021.

The Continued PCS Risk Assessment Team (CPRAT): 
Established under the direction of the Assistant Commandant for Human Resources and in coordination with the Director of Operational Logistics, CPRAT was a key component in determining the risk to authorizing PCS moves for the entire Service or for a particular region. The CPRAT consisting representatives from COMDTs (CG-1), (CG-8), (CG-094), DOL, PSC, and FORCECOM will continue to assess the risk and provide recommendations to COMDT (CG-1) regarding execution of PCS 2021.

Float Plan: 
The PCS Float Plan was developed to ensure the safe transfer of members in the heightened-risk environment. The Float Plan was recently updated from input received from the field. Given the ongoing state of the pandemic, the use of Float Plans is available for all, but required for those members with less than three PCS moves (unless current move is less than 50 miles), and those PCSing to/from Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, USVI, PATFORSWA or other OCONUS duty stations. 

New Shipmate Form: 
In recognition of the challenges of operating and working in a remote and dispersed manner and to facilitate a member’s inclusion to the unit, the New Shipmate Form was created as a means for the new unit to learn about their incoming shipmate and ease the member’s transition. The New Shipmate Form is located on the public web at: .

PCS Assist Team: 
Due to the unique challenges facing members in conducting a PCS amidst the national pandemic, DOL created the PCS Assist Team at DOL and three satellite OCONUS support team locations: Coast Guard District 7 (Puerto Rico/Caribbean), Coast Guard District 14(Hawaii/Guam), and Coast Guard District 17(Alaska) The objective of the PCS Assist Team is to serve as a support mechanism to ensure safe and efficient moves for Coast Guard members. As the impact of COVID-19 continues into the PCS 2021 season, the PCS Assist Team will be used as a resource for members conducting PCS moves. You can reach the PCS Assist Team by phone (833-551-0887) or email (PCSAssist@uscg.mil). 

CONUS/OCONUS Policy Guidance:
CONUS/OCONUS PCS and HHG shipments are authorized until further notice.

PCS to and from foreign countries are authorized as long as DoD or Chief of Mission (as applicable) restrictions are met. Members should carry out PCS after receiving guidance from their receiving commands.

Canada/Alaska Policy Guidance
PCS travel to, from, and through Canada remains authorized.

As soon as possible, but not less than 10 days prior to departing your permanent duty station, all members planning travel through Canada are required to send an e-mail to D17 admin office with the following information:

  • Rate/Rank
  • First M. Last name of service member
  • First M. Last name of all authorized travelers on orders
  • D17 Unit assigned/departed
  • Type of travel (PCS departing from/reporting to Alaska)
  • Estimated date of entry into/departure from Canada
  • Canadian Border Crossing/Port of Entry
  • Estimated date of entry into/departure from U.S.
  • U.S. Border Crossing/Port of Entry
  • Vehicle make, model and license plate info
  • Phone number while in a travel status

Entry into Canada from Alaska on the northern border is not limited to a specific port of entry. However, there are three to choose from: 

  • Beaver Creek in Yukon Territory
  • Fraser (inland from Skagway) in British Colombia 
  • Pleasant Camp in Stikine Region, BC

When travelling from the lower 48 states to Alaska, you must enter Canada at one of five identified CBSA ports of entry (POE):

  • Abbotsford-Huntingdon (British Columbia) 
  • Coutts (Alberta) 
  • Kingsgate (British Columbia) 
  • North Portal (Saskatchewan) 
  • Osoyoos (British Columbia)

ArriveCAN App: All travelers are required to provide travel, contact and quarantine information upon and after entry into Canada via ArriveCAN. This is part of Canada's efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent importation. This information is crucial to Canada's response to COVID-19. CBSA Officers will request an ArriveCAN receipt via screenshot, print out, or e-mail. Travelers will need to submit the following information electronically before they board their flight or before arrival at a land border crossing:

  • Travel and contact information.
  • Quarantine plan (unless exempted from the mandatory requirement to quarantine set out in the emergency order under the Quarantine Act).
  • COVID-19 symptom self-assessments.

Pre-entry testing requirement: Currently, whether driving or flying, all travelers five years of age or older, regardless of citizenship, must provide proof of a valid COVID-19 molecular test result. At this time, proof of having a vaccine does not replace a valid test result. Check here for updates. 

You must take the test within 72 hours of your entry into Canada or your scheduled flight departure time (for those arriving by land, the test must be taken in the United States); provide one of the accepted types of tests, not an antigen test; keep proof of your test results for the entire transit through Canada. Proof must include the traveler’s name and date of birth, name and address of the lab/clinic/facility that administered the test, test date, method of test (PCR or LAMP), and test result.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 can continue to test positive long after they have recovered and are no longer infectious. Travelers who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 must provide proof of a positive COVID-19 molecular test conducted between 14 and 90 days prior to your entry into Canada or your scheduled flight.

Alaska Marine Highway System: Members PCSing to and from Alaska via the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS), a.k.a (the Alaska Ferry) have experienced delays with the ferry system in the past. If you are contemplating using the AMHS you must obtain approval with your receiving command via the Float Plan. If you choose to use the AMHS and delays are incurred, your receiving command may only authorize non-chargeable absence as per the Coast Guard Supplement to Joint Travel Regulations for any additional days spent en route waiting for a scheduled or delayed ferry, no additional travel days or entitlements will be authorized.

Vehicle Processing Center (VPC): 

As detailed in COVID-19: Temporary Change to the CG Supplement to JTR – Vehicle Processing Center (VPC) Selection ALCOAST 465/20, members transferring in 2021 may use the VPC of their choosing as long as that facility is the closest to their old PDS, new PDS, or along the direct route between the two.

Personally Procured Move (PPM): 

The Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) has permanently authorized a member executing a PPM to receive a monetary allowance that is equal to 100% of the Government’s Best Value for the actual household good (HHG) weight transported up to the service member’s maximum authorized weight allowance. The decision to use a personally procured move (PPM) during a PCS transfer is a personal and complex choice. Members should contact their local Personnel and Administration Office (P&A)/Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) for additional information.

Travel and Leave Update: 

You should be aware of changing conditions in locations you intend to travel to and through when making travel decisions. Commands should weigh all risk factors including state and local government posture at the destination, mode of transportation, planned activities, lodging, and precautions taken by the Coast Guard members. Refer to latest Travel and Leave SITREP ALCOAST 096/21 for the latest policy guidance and information.

Special Leave Accrual: 

Members will continue to manage your accrued leave balances to avoid loss of leave as stated in COVID-19: Special Leave Accrual (SLA) for National Emergency During FY2020 ALCOAST 187/20. Commands are encouraged to work with members to plan leave which balances member and family needs with mission readiness. Due to the Coast Guard response to COVID-19, Special Leave Accrual (SLA) for all active and qualified reserve military personnel was approved with the following maximum leave balance carryover for FY21-FY23

End of date FY: Total Carryover Limit
Sept. 30, 2021 80 days
Sept. 30, 2022 70 days
Sept. 30, 2023 60 days

                     
 

 

 

The Coast Guard maintains a website with authoritative documents, frequently asked questions, and a link to submit your questions. This site is updated continuously and should be referenced often:

Contacts

References: