The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act mandated the changes, which take effect tomorrow.
The purpose of DOD's TAP remains the same, officials said, but the new requirements will reflect a different process of execution.
"It is our hope that these changes will provide ample time for transitioning service members to begin thinking about their transition and begin planning accordingly," said Tamre H. Newton, director of DOD's Transition to Veterans Program Office.
DOD TAP is an outcome-based program that bolsters opportunities, services and training for transitioning service members in their preparation to meet post-military goals, and should not be confused with TAPS, an acronym for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, officials noted.
The mandatory components of TAP are applicable for all service members who have at least 180 continuous days or more on active duty; including members of the National Guard and reserves.
The new changes with TAP also include a service member election of two days of instruction; these include the: DOL Employment Track, DOL Vocational Track, DOD Education Track and the Small Business Administration Entrepreneurship Track. Transitioning service members must elect at least one track, but may attend more than one based on their ITP and post-transition goals.
The capstone event, which is the culminating event in which commanders verify achievement of career readiness standards and a viable ITP, must happen no later than 90 days before separation or released from active duty. Capstone remains the culminating event for TAP.
While certain changes to DOD TAP are standard across the military departments, each military service may execute the mandatory portions of TAP based on their service culture, as long as they are within the required timeframes, officials said. This may result in a distributive model in which TAP is encouraged to be completed over the course of the 365 days following IC and pre-separation counseling, or in a consecutive model, in which TAP is completed in a five-day consecutive period, allowing service members to use the knowledge gained right upfront to explore additional tracks, extensively network, complete a marketable certification, attend a DOD SkillBridge program, or use a mentor to ease their transition.
The changes to TAP will not immediately be reflected on the www.DODTAP.mil website. However, officials anticipate that the site will be updated soon. For more information on the updates to TAP, service members should contact their installation transition office.
About the Transition to Veterans Program Office: