MILLINGTON, Tennessee (NNS) — Since the Navy’s first announcement in mid-March to stop movement due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, Sailors with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders have been worried what that will mean for them and their families.
According to Navy Personnel Command’s Career Management Department, the questions have been rampant and consistent: “Can I move?” “I’ve already checked out so what do I do now?” “Do I need an order modification?” “Do I go to my next school?” “What about my household goods?”
To answer Sailors’ questions, the Navy has relied on NPC’s Career Management Department (PERS-4) to be the repository for answers.
“We understand that this is a very stressful time for all of our Sailors and PERS-4 is doing everything we possibly can to take care of our Sailors and our Navy,” said Rear Adm. Rick Cheeseman, assistant commander, NPC for Career Management. “We are a customer service business, and our business is taking care of our people.”
More than 700 Sailors, officers and civilians make up PERS-4, representing every Navy rate and designator. Detailers work with individuals to manage their careers, and placement officers represent commands to ensure that they are properly staffed. The two halves of PERS-4 have worked hand-in-hand to ensure that both the Sailors and the Navy have what they need.
With the release of NAVADMIN 064/20 in mid-March, the PERS-4 stood up a round-the-clock duty to proactively initiate contact with every member immediately impacted by the 60-day stop movement order. This 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week service reaches out to this group of almost 23,000 Sailors and officers which includes anyone already in the middle of a PCS move as well as anyone with PCS orders for March or April.
While adding this level of service, PERS-4 continues its normal service to all constituents.
“Normal business has changed and the way that we conduct business has changed,” said Cheeseman. “While we are doing what we normally do we are just doing it faster. Like an emergency breakaway on a ship.
“We must be flexible and able to adjust to match the needs of the Sailors.”
As COVID-19 issued have progressed, PERS-4 needed to adjust to take their our own safety into account to keep the staff healthy and available for the Sailors.
“At the moment, about 80 percent of our staff is teleworking, but we remain fully able to care for the Sailors and the Navy,” said Cheeseman.
Many Sailors ended up in various situations – some were stuck in airports waiting to board overseas flights, and some had their household goods packed out in limbo – that required waivers to complete their transition from one duty station to another.
Cheeseman holds the waiver authority.
“The waiver process is a very intensive one and he has not delegated his authority to anyone. He personally looks at each waiver request himself with the goal of turning each round as fast as possible,” said Capt. Chris Harris, director, Distribution Management Division, Career Management Department. “There is a three-pronged test for movement waivers; mission essential, humanitarian, and economic burden. So far more 1,100 have been approved.”
All Sailors with outstanding questions are Sailors are encouraged to contact the MyNavy Career Center (MNCC) for questions. They can be reach at 1-833-330-MNCC (6622) or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about MNCC Services and other contact information, go to https://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/organization/npc/publicaffairs/news/Documents/MNCC_flyer.pdf
“Even though this situation is extremely stressful, Sailors need to remain patient. If you have an issue, we will take care of you,” Cheeseman said. “The bottom line is that we absolutely will not leave anyone behind.”
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.