Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
The busiest season for duty station changes is fast approaching and a new policy was recently released in an effort to make travel procedures smoother for Marines. According to Marine administrative message 001/16, beginning Jan. 1, Marines undergoing a permanent change of station must use their government travel charge card for all expenses related to the move.
This policy replaces travel advances and protects Marines from being charged interest or overdraft fees on their personal accounts.
“The main reason why we are doing this is because it makes moves more efficient and more cost effective,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Laura Brossman, the orders section officer in charge. “Most of the rest of the Department of Defense has already transitioned to it and they have been using it for a while.”
The process begins when a Marine receives PCS orders. The Marine will log onto Marine Online and complete an outbound interview. Once the Marine has confirmed that they are in possession of a GTCC, the card will be activated 10 days prior to the date the Marine is scheduled to detach from their current unit. The card will deactivate 15 days after the approved report date. The Marine will then submit a travel voucher upon checking in to the new unit.
Marines undergoing a permanent change of address will also complete an outbound interview on MOL but will not use the GTCC for the transition.
“The biggest difference is that everything is automated now,” said Capt. Leslie Harkness, the agency program coordinator in charge of oversight for all the GTCC within the division. “Before, Marines would have to go print out their web orders, go to the [Installation Personnel Administration Center]… they would have to do all this stuff via paper and it would take a lot of extra time… to do the paperwork, and to have the advance sent to you… this makes the process much more seamless and smooth.”
Some of the other benefits of the change that Harkness highlighted include the fact that Marines would not be charged interest on their personal accounts, they would have customer support from Citi Bank and their unit APC’s during the PCS transition. Using the card would not affect the Marines’ credit history. The money would be immediately available negating the need to wait for a travel advance. Also, the Marine would be in a mission-critical status during the move, meaning that they will not receive any bills or overdue notices until they check into their new unit.
“It will make it easier for the Marine to not have to pay out of pocket for things in their PCS travel,” said Harkness. “It’s going to help the younger Marines especially.”
Brossman emphasized the importance of keeping all purchase receipts and keeping track of statements through the Citi Bank website.
The credit limit on the GTCC will be set based on the estimated cost of that Marine’s travel entitlements. Some of the expenses that are authorized to be charged to the card include authorized transportation expenses, lodging, meals and expenses previously paid with a dislocation allowance such as carpet cleaning or utility deposits. The card is not authorized for personal purchases such as uniform items or auto repairs.
Use of the GTCC for personally procured moves, formally known as do-it-yourself moves, or permanent change of assignment moves is not authorized in connection with this policy.
CWO4 Russell Johnson, a food service officer who recently underwent a PCA from 2nd Marine Logistics Group to 2nd Headquarters Battalion, thought that the use of the GTCC will be a great tool to teach younger Marines to be financially accountable and was surprised how easy the online module was.
“The new outbound interview process is light-years easier than the old data sheets,” said Johnson. “It will save Marines time from having to run back and forth to IPAC so many times.”
The Marine Corps has been transitioning to the outbound interview module for a couple of years. IPAC Camp Lejeune and the surrounding PACs are some of the last PACs in the Marine Corps to undergo the change.
“Hopefully with the units and the IPAC working together, we can make it as smooth as possible,” said Brossman. “We are looking at March first for the targeted date for all units to receive training and to transition.”
Harkness encouraged Marines to contact their administration shop to receive guidance or to answer any questions. From there, Marines can contact their IPAC or unit APC for more assistance. For more detailed information about the step-by-step process, Marines can watch a YouTube video explaining the MARADMIN by visiting https://youtu.be/V7WMkMVX8GQ.
“Any unit is more than welcome to contact the IPAC for training on outbound procedures as well as any of the areas we support,” said Brossman.
A class will be taught at the Camp Lejeune base theater Feb. 1, at 8:00 a.m. about the new process and personnel will be available to answer any questions. The class is open to all.