How Long After PCS Can I Retire (And Why)?

How Long After PCS Can I Retire (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Approximately 20 Years

PCS whose full form is a permanent change of station is an assignment or a type of transfer of a United States Armed Force member or a unit of members to a different place of duty as opposed to the current place of employment. It is an official order from the Armed Force head and thus forms a part and parcel of military life.

The members transferred to the new duty station are under competent authority. Their duty at the new place is neither specified as temporary nor provides any information for transfer to any other new station or their return to their old station.


How Long After PCS Can I Retire?

Number of completed active years in service to avail retirementApprox. 20 years
The mandatory age of retirement in the military of the U.S62 years

Permanent change of station as its name suggests involves changing the place of duty of a particular military officer or a military unit. These orders are long-term in nature, unlike the routine short-term and temporary duty assignments assigned to the officers. The PCS is for a period of 2 to 4 years or longer.

In PCS, one will be pre-informed about where will the officer be transferred or assigned as a part of a permanent change of station duty. Majorly this decision is given on two parameters: 1. CONUS and 2. OCONUS.

CONUS stands for moving orders inside the continental United States of America whereas OCONUS stands for moving for duty outside the continental United States which are overseas. This could include places like Alaska, Hawaii, and other similar U.S territories.

An officer who has been appointed for PCS duty could take his retirement after approximately 20 years of active service. The retirement date cannot be later than 1 year i.e 12 months from the date of notification, or the first day of the month after at least 20 years of active duty in the forces is completed.

All service obligations of the concerned military officer must be up to date and if pending, they must be fulfilled before the date of retirement is approved.

Why Does It Take So Long After PCS To Retire?

Retirement from any employment refers to the action or fact of completely leaving one’s job and ceasing to work again in that same place. It is sought when the employee has become old. Thus, retirement is that period in one’s life after which people stop working and enjoy their remaining retired life.

When military officers retire, it can be called a military retirement. In the military retirement system, all the retirements are government-funded. These benefits after retirement are pre-defined and are viewed as a lucrative incentive in retaining a career in any country’s military forces.

One of the main goals of the retirements system is to keep the military forces of the country young and vigorous. This also helps to ensure that after the retirement of old military members, promotion opportunities could be given to other new and younger military members.

Any military officer deployed at any duty service is eligible for retirement and can avail of the retirement benefits only after the officer has completed at least twenty years of active service in the military forces.

Thus, an officer who is sent to any different station for duty as a part of a permanent change of station or PCS, such an officer can retire only after the completion of at least twenty years of his service in the armed forces.


PCS means permanent change of station. After successfully obeying the PCS orders, one can retire from the armed forces. Completing a PCS signifies adjusting to new changes in places of duty and starting new routines.

As a general notion in military services, any military officer who has completed 20 years in service is eligible for retirement whether he received PCS orders or not. However, from time to time, the military offers its service members an option for early retirement through TERA i.e Temporary Early Retirement Authority.

Thus, TERA allows military officers to retire from service after a minimum of 15 years of duty as opposed to the traditional 20 years of active service in the military forces.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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