Army Planned to Delay Moves for Thousands of Soldiers, Families During Holidays, But Changes Order

Service member tapes up a box of kitchen items as part of a PCS move
Service member tapes up a box of kitchen items as part of a PCS move. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kelly White)

After initially considering plans that would have halted moves for up to 18,000 soldiers over the holidays, the Army is changing course, a spokesman tells

An Army memo obtained by outlined a service-wide halt from Nov. 15 through Jan. 15, 2022, that would have severely restricted permanent change of station, or PCS, moves.

"Without mitigation, at least 18,000 Soldiers could be reporting to new duty locations during the anticipated brownout and cutover period," the memo said.

The memo was not dated or signed, but multiple Army officials confirmed its authenticity. After contacted an Army spokesman on Friday, the service requested that the news site delay publication while more information could be obtained.

Late Monday afternoon, a spokesman said that the memo no longer reflected the service's plans, and that an update would be coming soon.

"The EXORD [Execute Order] is no longer current," Maj. Angel Tomko, an Army spokesperson, said in an email. "There will be no impact to PCS moves in the upcoming November to January timeframe."

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It is unclear how many, if any, families were notified of the initial plan to halt PCS moves, but documents reviewed by suggest officials had known since at least July there might be PCS hiccups this year.

There have been rumors of the freeze on social media for months, but officials have largely been silent and have not made any attempt to inform the media or to warn soldiers and their families. Some may have had to make long-term plans, such as signing leases, finding new jobs and other burdensome arrangements, that can't be easily reversed.

Families often schedule their moves over the holidays, to limit the disruption for school-aged children. While the document included an exception for those families, some soldiers would need to obtain a waiver.

The initial planned halt to the moves was a side effect of the Army changing computer systems that deal with soldiers' records. This is a multi-year process to roll online systems into a program called Integrated Personnel and Pay Systems-Army, or IPPS-A, which aims to consolidate everything from awards to pay into a single network.

Part of the change to IPPS-A requires a so-called "brownout" period, in which old systems will be taken offline and IPPS-A starts to take over as the Army's go-to online portal. Because of the change in systems, some PCS movements were being delayed in anticipation of issues.

"As we work to bring IPPS-A online, we will publish an update," Tomko said in the emailed statement.

-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.

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