Understanding Transition GPS and How It Can Help You

by Carl

troopsTransition GPS, formerly known as TurboTAP, is a redesigned — and renamed — mandatory military transition program. The new name gives insight into the underlying purpose and goal of program participation — “GPS” stands for “Goals – Plans – Success.” With a comprehensive and integrated approach to navigating the transition process, Transition GPS aims to ease the very normal and natural stressors that arise for transitioning service personnel and also provide support and resources to help the entire family through the transition process.

The VOW Act of 2011

The redesigned Transition GPS program is a direct result of passage of the VOW (Veterans Right to Work) Act of 2011. As such, the redesigned program includes expanded sections to address veteran educational preparation and certification as well as job placement assistance for reservists and veterans. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor, passage of VOW is complementary to passage of the Hire Heroes Act of 2011. These two Acts have already significantly boosted employment opportunities for transitioning military personnel, their spouses and family members.

Transition GPS Overview

What is now called Transition GPS is the result of a collaborative effort between several military-centric agencies. These agencies include the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Each of these agencies has contributed specific expertise and resources to create a supportive program that addresses every aspect of the transition process. However, the program is still “under construction” and more elements will continue to be added in coming years. Newly added elements include these.

  • Educational assistance. With the ability to search for a military scholarship that fits your educational goals — and dependent scholarships as well — your entire family receives support from Transition GPS to further your education.
  • Job search tools. Transition GPS offers a wealth of career assistance and planning from workshops to skills enhancement to career fairs to lists of military-friendly employers.
  • Benefits access assistance. Transition GPS offers workshops and tutorials to help you learn more about your full complement of military benefits and access those benefits for yourself, your spouse and your family members.
  • Wounded warrior care and disability assistance. If you return home wounded or disabled, Transition GPS offers an extra level of support to help you immediately access the resources you need most.
  • Reservist information. If you are interested in enrolling in a Reserves program in your branch of the military, Transition GPS can assist with the enrollment process.
  • Transition plan development. Because no two transitioning personnel have the exact same experience, counselors are on hand to support you in developing a transition plan that is tailored to your specific needs and goals.


With these and many other benefits, Transition GPS shows itself to be a powerful program-in-progress that can provide assistance, support and guidance at every step of the transition process.

Transition GPS and the Military Life Cycle Transition Model

The current recommendation is to access Transition GPS up to a full two years (24 months) before your actual transition date. Transition GPS is built into what is called the Military Life Cycle Transition Model. This model complements Transition GPS by requiring each transitioning military to develop what is called an Individual Development Plan, or IDP. The IDP begins at the time the individual first enters the military and concludes at the time the individual has made a successful transition back to civilian life. The IDP includes military training goals, educational goals, career goals, long-term skills goals and transition goals. Development of the IDP often unfolds with the guidance and assistance of trained military counselors. The ultimate intent of the IDP is to plan for a successful transition back into civilian life in whatever unique way that may unfold for each transitioning service person.

By making the most of your opportunity to develop an IDP, enrolling in Transition GPS the moment you begin to contemplate transitioning, taking full advantage of the scholarships and other benefits provided to transitioning military and their families and more, you can experience a successful transition back to civilian life.

About the Author: Mark Biltmore came home from Afghanistan after his second tour of duty and found transitioning much easier when he enrolled in TurboTap/Transition GPS.

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