Transition Assistance Program Capstone: What to Expect

Laura Stanley, a Department of Navy Civilian Employee Assistance Program (DONCEAP) program manager assigned to the Office of Civilian Human Resources, discusses the benefits of DONCEAP at her desk in Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., March 9, 2016. (U.S. Navy/Mark Burrell)

The Pentagon's Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is designed to help service members successfully prepare to leave the military and head back into civilian life.

Started in most cases no less than a year before the planned final out date, the program has five parts, which include creating an individualized transition plan, briefings on a variety of veteran and military benefits, employment prep, and financial literacy training.

The final step is known as the "capstone." It is during this check-in that transition officials will work with you to make sure you've completed all of the other steps and have set a plan to meet what the Defense Department (DoD) calls its "career readiness standards" (CRS). In most cases, this step must be completed no later than 90 days before your final out date.

During this capstone check-in, a transition official will walk through the plan you created during your initial counseling and make sure you've checked all the boxes -- literally -- on your DD-2648.

Do you have a financial transition plan? Is your resume ready or do you already have a job lined up? Are you registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs eBenefits program? Have you been briefed on National Guard and Reserve opportunities? Did you get a briefing on education options? The capstone step will address all of those questions and more.

But what if, after all of the programs and transition help, you still don't have a set transition plan or are unable to find a job or set an actionable transition plan? According to policy, a transition counselor or commander must provide a "warm handover" to a non-DoD agency, such as the VA, or a local state resource to help make sure you are taken care of.

Learn more about the other TAP steps:

Step One: Initial Counseling

Step Two: Pre-Separation Briefing

Step Three: DoD Transition Day, VA and Labor Department Briefings

Step Four: Specialized Military Transition Tracks


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