Revamped Transition Program to Benefit Troops, Families
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 2011 Officials soon will unveil a fully revamped Transition Assistance Program that’s aimed at better reaching service members throughout the world, a senior Defense Department official said.
TAP is a collaboration of the Defense, Veterans Affairs and Labor departments, explained John R. Campbell, deputy assistant secretary of defense for wounded warrior care and transition policy.
“This year [we] realized that we really needed to make some significant changes -- which all of us have done,” he said. “We’ll be able to unveil the new TAP from our three agencies by Veterans Day -- that’s our intention.”
Campbell talked about the revitalization of TAP to reach a younger, more modern audience.
“These programs needed to be revamped because they really weren’t speaking to this young generation of service men and women,” he noted. “We really needed to get information to them that was more topical, more pertinent to the job market today.”
Campbell said he believes this “young generation” is interested in a virtual environment. “A virtual space where they can go and get information and provide information,” he said. “That currently is not the way TAP works.
"TAP is generally given at the end of a service man or woman’s career,” he added. “It’s in a physical place; it’s a short period of time.”
TAP’s goal will be to reach service members earlier in their career, the deputy assistant secretary said.
“We want to initiate TAP much earlier so that service members have an opportunity to digest it and get more and more information as their career progresses,” Campbell said. “So they will have an opportunity to understand what’s going on in the outside employment market, for example, as well as what they will need if they wish to progress in their particular [military career field].”
Campbell said another change to the transition program is a digital delivery of services and information.
“We’ve done that with a couple of initiatives that we have,” he said. “One is Turbo TAP, which is really a Guard and Reserve-directed website [that] gives topical information on what Guard and Reserve members really need to know.”
Campbell also pointed out a new virtual webinar program that is available to service members and their families worldwide.
“We give those once every two weeks and they are on topics of acing the interview, how to get a federal job, how do I dress for success, how do I negotiate for a salary,” he said.
“These topics are being received, signed up [for] and registered by members of the military, their families [and] veterans all over the globe,” he added.
Campbell noted participants in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and Germany, in addition to the United States.
“We’re quite excited about the range of different programs that we have in process,” he said. “They’re going to get better and we’re really excited.”
Campbell said TAP is an enduring product that is always available. “It’s important that after the war fighting [we are] taking care of the wounded, ill and injured,” he said.
“Transitioning service members is really as important,” he continued, “so that we can ensure that these young men and women get all the advantage that they deserve and are successful in their careers as well as when they leave the military.”