Being in the military requires Soldiers and their Families to make certain sacrifices, and a permanent change of station, or PCS, is one of them.

To assist with that process, the Army has developed the Total Army Sponsorship Program, or TASP, which is designed to clear the fog of uncertainty that envelopes transitioning to one's next assignment by identifying a Soldier at the gaining unit to receive and welcome an incoming Soldier.

According to Army Regulation 600-8-8, TASP provides Soldiers in the ranks of private through colonel and Civilian Employees through grade 15 with an opportunity to participate in the advanced arrival sponsorship program.

There are a few stipulations that apply. Those Soldiers who are serving their first term (those who have not re-enlisted) are required to have a sponsor.

Soldiers who are traveling from advanced individual training or who are being assigned to a student detachment need not apply. They will be sponsored by the student detachment, and they should receive a welcome letter before their arrival or a sponsor once they arrive.

Aiding in ease of access, TASP recently received a digital upgrade, which means requesting a sponsor is now only a few keystrokes away.

Once a Soldier is locked into an assignment, he or she should receive an email from the Army Career Tracker system that requests the individual to fill out Department of the Army Form 5434, Sponsorship Program Counseling and Information Sheet.

From here, Soldiers can expect one-on-one contact with their sponsors, and they will be able to ask specific questions about training expectations, local shopping, school systems and safe neighborhoods for house hunting.

Soldiers should expect their transition to be conducted in four or five phases: receipt of a welcome letter from their gaining unit, briefing by Army Community Service's Relocation Readiness Program staff (if requested) who provides information about the local area, reception at their unit where they are greeted by their sponsor, orientation of their unit and local community, and about two weeks of in-processing.

The process might seem lengthy, but thoroughness is necessary in maintaining the health and well-being of the Army's Soldiers and their Families. Excerpt from "Army Sponsorship Program," By Staff Sgt. Mark A. Moore II, 2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO NCOIC, Source: