Recently the Chief of Staff of the Air Force made a statement expressing his concerns about the current end date of the stop movement orders for the military, and that he believes the stop movement might be extended until August.
It didn’t take long for the military community to pick up on this news, and soon memes and articles starting popping up all over social media with military spouses asking, “Is this true?” For those who are gearing up to PCS or those waiting on word for deployment or redeployment, these types of speculative articles and memes have caused even more panic in an already stressful situation.
The short answer is no, the current stop movement orders which include OCONUS and CONUS PCS orders, troop movements, and personal travel have not been extended until August- yet. Many seasoned military families can tell you that often times there is a shred of foreshadowing in these statements but currently, no directive or statement has come down from the Department of Defense or the Secretary of Defense stating that the stop movement order should be extended. In the case of the statement made by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, this was a simply a personal statement giving his personal opinion of the current military response to COVID-19.
The current stop movement order puts a halt on CONUS PCS’s and personal travel for military service members and DoD contractors and employees through 11 May 2020. All overseas movement, including deployments, redeployments, PCS’s, and personal travel are halted until 24 May 2020.
The current stop movement orders have already caused quite a bit of stress for military families across the world. Many families were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their service member from a deployment, and now those deployments have been extended for an additional time period. Some had already started the pre-deployment process which often includes a roller coaster of emotions, only to have the stop movement orders stop them in their tracks, causing additional stress for both the service member and their families.
However, it seems like the bulk of the complications due to the stop movement orders comes from those who are in the current PCS cycle. Many families had already started the PCS process when the stop movement orders were first handed down. They had already had their household goods packed and shipped out, leaving them with nothing as they became effectively stuck at their current duty stations. Many had purchased homes or cancelled their rental leases with the expectation to be moving, and they now find themselves paying two mortgages or rents, or living in hotels or Air BnB’s that cost way more than their current BAH rates.
“We close 4/29 and are having to pack ourselves and send to storage. We have 3 solid-ish plans right now and are taking a prepared for anything/roll with the punches mentality,” says one Marine Corps spouse who has been directly affected by the stop movement. “I’m fully prepping mentally for either not being able to move until end of summer/fall or my husband having to go without us and come back to move us when it’s our turn after everything bottlenecks,” says another Marine Corps spouse.
Many military families speculate that, if anything, the stop movement will be lifted for those who are graduating or set to attend military MOS or PME schools as they cannot be extended at their current duty station, as well as limit the movement of non-essential PCS orders at least through the summer. However, no statement or directive has been sent down by the Department of Defense or the Secretary of Defense, leaving the current dates of 11 May for CONUS movements and 24 May for OCONUS movements as the dates to look towards.
In the statement given by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the goal, if a the stop order is extended, would be to get families to their new locations by August so that they can get settled before the new school year begins. “If families are going to move, we are going to want to get families in place before it starts,” he said.
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