PCS Orders: What to Do and Who to Contact

Military move packout list.
Familiar sights during a household goods move. (U.S. Navy/Russell Stewart)

Once you have your PCS orders, in hand, what should your priorities be? Here's five key steps to take:

1. Set up a meeting with your base transportation office.

Depending on your service branch, the name of the government office that handles your relocation varies:

  • The Defense Department: Joint Personal Property Shipping Office
  • Air Force: Traffic Management Office
  • Army: Installation Transportation Office
  • Navy and Marine Corps: Personal Property Shipping Office
  • Coast Guard: Traffic Management Office

You can access information about your specific installation's transportation office at the Military.com Base Guide.

Make sure you make an appointment with your office as early as possible. At your meeting, make sure you find out about the moving options available to you, including a Personally Procured Move (PPM), formerly known as a do-it-yourself or DITY move, and start making preliminary arrangements for your move.

2. Contact the family center on your new base.

Family centers offer relocation assistance programs that provide moving information to you and your family. Ask questions and learn about your new community and what it offers.

3. If you're living in government quarters, notify the housing office of your projected move date.

Make sure you also know all the regulations about cleaning your home before you move out.

4. Make an appointment with your finance office at your current installation.

Regardless of how much the government reimburses you, making a move likely will be a drain on your bank account. The finance office can give you the lowdown on your options, as well as relocation benefits for which you're eligible.

5. Use the PCS Moving Checklist in this guide.

In making preparations for a move, it's easy to be bogged down with all the details and things to do. Stay on top of it all with this handy checklist, which covers everything from packing to setting up in your new location. These ready-to-print lists will remind you what you need to do.

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