The federal Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is designed to help service members and their families successfully move from military to civilian life. Last redesigned in October 2019, TAP is organized in partnership with the Defense Department, the Department of Labor and the Department of Veterans Affairs. What is included is set by both federal law and agency policies.
TAP is divided into five key parts:
- The initial counseling
- Pre-separation briefing
- DoD transition day and briefings by the Department of Labor and VA
- Specialized workshops
The initial counseling (IC) kicks off your transition process. It's held in most cases no less than 365 days from your official separation date, but those retiring from the service can have it as far out as two years from their retirement date.
The IC is aimed at helping you create an overall plan for your transition process. Using the DD-2648 form as a guide, the counselor will walk you through exactly what you will experience during TAP and what you need to accomplish to get ready for the civilian world successfully. It can be held in person or, if you are stationed remotely, by video conference.
During your IC, you'll be asked to complete a self-assessment exercise. This process is designed to help you understand how to get the most out of the transition program, flag any gaps or extra help you need, and help you understand the best tracks to take during Stage 4, which includes specialized tracks and a complete briefing on transition resources.
TAP is designed to allow your service to make its own specialized changes to best help its members. You can see your individual service's transition program here:
- Army: Soldier for Life -- Transition Assistance Program
- Air Force: Transition Assistance Program
- Navy: Transition Goals, Plans, Success
- Marine Corps: Transition Readiness Program
- Coast Guard Transition Assistance Program
Learn more about the other TAP steps:
- Step 2: Pre-Separation Briefing
- Step 3: DoD Transition Day, VA and Labor Department Briefings
- Step 4: Specialized Military Transition Tracks
- Step 5: Transition Assistance Program Capstone
Find the Right Veteran Job
Whether you want to polish your resume, find veteran job fairs in your area or connect with employers looking to hire veterans, Military.com can help. Sign up for a free Military.com membership to have job postings, guides and advice, and more delivered directly to your inbox.