NAVAL AIR FACILITY ATSUGI, Japan – Being stationed in Japan provides an easy opportunity to travel to other pacific region countries for leave. However, before going on leave to a foreign country service members must follow a specific process to ensure a smooth and successful trip.
Throughout the process service members will need to get in contact with their command Individual Anti-Terrorism Plan (IATP)/ Personnel clearance coordinator (leave coordinator), Isolated Personnel Report (ISOPREP) manager, medical personnel and possibly Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) personnel.
The first step is talking the command IATP/Personnel clearance coordinator.
Giving the leave coordinator early notification, in regards to leave travel dates and the country of destination, eases the process of conducting the series of clearance checks required before travel.
The lead-time needed for the clearance process is based on the destination country. Some require a special area clearance approval from the Department of State (DOS) through the Aircraft and Personnel Automated Clearance System (APACS) in advance with the country’s required lead-time.
It is important to talk to the leave coordinator first so they can inform the service member of the necessary lead-time and clearances needed for the country of leave choice.
Next service members will need to complete two online trainings, Level 1 Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP) Awareness Training and a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) 100.1 Level A Code of Conduct training.
“The ATFP Awareness training is designed to increase awareness of terrorism and improve ability to apply personal protective measures,” said NAF Atsugi Training and Readiness Leading Petty Officer, Gas Turbine System Technician (Electrical) 1st Class Jason Calata. “The Level A Code of Conduct provides every military service member the legal way of how to behave if captured by hostile forces.”
The ATFP Awareness training is valid for one year and should be completed annually by military members. The Level A Code of Conduct training is valid for two years, and though it is not mandatory, it is still a good idea to complete the training even when not going on leave.
Level 1 ATFP Awareness can be found online at https://atlevel1.dtic.mil/at/, and Level A Code of Conduct can be found under the Navy E-Learning section of Navy Knowledge Online. This training is listed as lasting a duration of 15 hours, so leave adequate time to complete the required training and leave process.
The completion certificates for each course should be printed out and kept as they will be needed later to complete your pre-travel requirements. This is a good time to create a pre-travel file to keep all the paperwork together in one place.
As part of the leave process service members will also need a medical brief.
“It is a vital part of the process because it is the part where we give them medical information pertaining to the country they are going,” explained Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joey Mei of Preventive Medicine department at Branch Health Clinic Atsugi. “Some things we discuss are physical hazards, diseases that are epidemic to the area and how to mainly protect themselves from water borne, food borne and more importantly infected borne diseases from insects like mosquitoes and flies that are over there.”
Mei said the hospital corpsman provides literature on the destination country as well as gives pertinent information that is necessary for travel during the brief. If service members and any family members traveling need vaccines or immunizations before their trip they will be informed during their medical brief.
At the end of the brief the service member will receive a certificate to add to their pre-travel file.
For the next step in the process service members will need to fill out their ISOPREP and have it validated by the command ISOPREP manager.
“The purpose of the ISOPREP is to provide details about one’s appearance and characteristics if one should ever become Missing in Action,” said NAF Atsugi command ISOPREP manager, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Eleuterio Santana. “The ISOPREP is also designed to contain contact information about one’s family, so that family members can be notified in the case of personnel becoming Missing in Action.”
Since the ISOPREP contains sensitive and personal data it is important that it is hand carried to the command ISOPREP manager.
An ISOPREP needs to be updated and validated every six months based on the previous validation date.
Once all those steps are finished a Travel Tracker or an IATP can then be completed.
It is recommended to wait until after completing this step before purchasing a ticket for leave in the event that clearance is denied.
For the Travel Tracker or IATP, create an account at https://iatp.pacom.mil. Once there select, the”account” page to start the process.
Next, click on “submit travel” to input travel information and make sure to select the right command name provided by the command leave coordinator. This will ensure the travel tracker or IATP is forwarded to the correct coordinator.
While inputting travel information, service members also need to have the training certificates and medical brief certificates on hand to enter in the date completed and certificate number for each.
Once a Travel Tracker or IATP is completed, the next step is to submit an E-Leave request through https://nsips.nmci.navy.mil.
Keep in mind that certain countries and theaters require additional briefs such as Human Rights training and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Foreign Threat brief. Check with the leave coordinator for a list of all the training and briefs needed for each destination country.
After filling out the e-leave, an Area of Responsibility Location Specific brief should be set up with the leave coordinator. Make sure to bring all the required certificates and passports of all travelers. If a flight itinerary is available then bring it as well.
The leave coordinator will submit a Personnel Clearance Request and receive an approval or disapproval status through APACS.
Once the approval is received and the leave request has been signed off, the last recommended step is to self-register with the U.S. Embassy in the country of destination through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) on the State Department’s travel registration website which can be accessed at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/.
STEP also allows service members to subscribe to e-mails regarding their country of destination to help stay informed of any updates to travel warnings and alerts.
Before leaving, make sure to have all relevant paperwork for travel placed together as it may prove useful while on leave.
Though the pre-travel process is lengthy and requires some running around to visit various personnel, it is well worth it once on leave being able to enjoy a beach or an old Buddhist temple.