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    The Evolution of the DoD Transition Assistance Program

    The Evolution of the DoD Transition Assistance Program

    Courtesy Photo | The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) supports approximately 200,000 Service members...... read more read more

    There’s one thing all Service members have in common – at some point in their military career, they transition. New recruits who once raised their right hand to serve the nation, will look to their command leadership to assist them with a new journey when their time in Service has ended.

    The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) supports approximately 200,000 Service members annually, at hundreds of locations around the world, and prepares them with individual transition plans (ITP) based on their current skills and future goals.

    Michael Miller, director of the Military-Civilian Transition Office, which has oversight of the Department of Defense (DoD) TAP, believes the success of this commander’s program is attributed to the support received from leadership across all branches of service. Through command support and Military Services’ execution, DoD continues to meet the demands of the Service members.

    “Command leadership is the number one reason TAP is successful in preparing Service members for the next chapter of their lives,” he said. “We strive to ensure TAP remains evolutionary and meets the ever-evolving needs and goals of our Service members and their families.”

    Initially, when transition assistance services were introduced in 1991, Service member participation in course curriculum was optional.

    However, in adherence to the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, which supersedes the 2011 Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act, TAP was revised to include additional requirements, such as the no later than (NLT) 365-day commencement, as opposed to the former NLT 90-day commencement. Additional changes also included individualized initial counseling; a split from the former three-day Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Workshop, which was replaced with a new mandatory DOL One-day; and core curriculum that can be coupled with one or more, two-day elected tracks.

    Updated participant guides were recently published on the two-day tracks to include employment, vocational, education, and entrepreneurship curricula. These are all designed to provide military departments the flexibility to make maximum use of the program along with the guidance of non-clinical TAP counselors.
    Miller stated that TAP continues to grow based on extensive analytics gathered on Service member and government interagency partner input.

    “When I share details about today’s TAP with Service members who transitioned anywhere from two to five years plus, their responses are overwhelmingly positive and supportive,” he said. “They’re usually surprised when they learn about the many changes and improvements to TAP.”

    Currently, TAP includes transition courses and activities that every Service member must participate in as early as 24 months for those retiring, and no later than 365 days if separating or being released from active duty back to their Reserve Component. If there is an unplanned separation or retirement, TAP must begin as soon as possible to coincide with the service period remaining.

    This customized process begins with individualized initial counseling and a self-assessment prior to pre-separation counseling, which pinpoints the tailored level of assistance each member requires within their transition window. Then the ITP is initiated and developed throughout the pre-transition window and reviewed at Capstone (90 days prior to transition from active duty).

    Miller emphasized that the program has proven to be successful, saying, “My most rewarding experiences come from direct feedback from Service members. I take great pride in hearing their appreciation for starting TAP earlier and how individualized TAP counseling and tailored curricula covering VA benefits and services, higher education, employment and credentialing, and entrepreneurship provide a meaningful and realistic foundation.”

    TAP continues improvements in effectiveness and efficiencies, while meeting the changing needs of Service members.

    “We can best support Commanders and Service members by listening to them and then providing ever-improving curriculum, program data, and flexibility to facilitate their coordination and execution of TAP,” Miller said. “Feedback is critically important given that today’s and tomorrow’s improvements to TAP are largely based on the recommendations from those Service members who came before. Working together, we are ensuring that tomorrow’s TAP is even better.”

    For a complete listing of TAP resources and updated curriculum visit:



    Date Taken: 02.23.2023
    Date Posted: 02.23.2023 09:03
    Story ID: 439006
    Location: US

    Web Views: 799
    Downloads: 1