APRIL 22, 2020 – The Department of Defense’s ongoing travel restrictions and Stop Movement order has been extended, meaning that, unless rescinded earlier, this update keeps all Navy permanent change of station moves and non-essential official travel on hold until June 30.
The extension was announced in NAVADMIN 116/20, released April 21. The message replaces NAVADMIN 080/20, released March 21, and is an updated version of the “one-stop” roll-up of all the Navy’s personnel-related policies in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 throughout the force.
The message also announced recently approved special leave accrual for military members on active duty, of up to 120-days because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. This authorization applies to leave earned between March 11 and Sept. 30, 2020 and Sailors will have until the end of fiscal-year 2023 to use or lose those days.
“Our workforce is our first line of defense,” Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, the Navy’s Chief of Naval Personnel wrote in the message. “All hands must proactively take action to ensure the health of our force and to ensure we mitigate the spread of COVID-19, in order to maintain our readiness.”
Navy personnel officials encourage Sailors and Navy civilians to read through the message carefully, in its entirety, as it also contains clarification for some policies already in place. Among those current policies is guidance for pregnant Sailors, those with expired Common Access Cards, information on leave accumulation, selection boards and COVID-19 entitlements among several others.
“We recognize many of the policies in this NAVADMIN will place a strain on our force,” Nowell wrote, “but they are absolutely necessary to preserve our ability to conduct the mission.”
Exemptions from the continued travel restrictions remain in place and were clarified in the message.
Recruiting and training new Sailors for the fleet remains a priority, so movement for accessions, basic training, advanced individual training and follow-on travel to the first duty station will continue.
As was announced previously, transfers for those retiring and separating are not affected by this order.
Patients, as well as their authorized escorts and attendants, and medical providers are allowed to travel for the treatment of DoD personnel and their family members.
Travel for deployments and redeployments – including U.S. Navy vessels, embarked units and personnel – is also authorized.
Waivers for travel deemed mission-essential, necessary for humanitarian reasons or warranted due to extreme hardship will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Local commanders will exercise prudent judgment when determining mission-essential travel and granting waivers, and err on the side of conservatism,” Nowell wrote. “This is not business as usual. The expectation is that these waivers are done on a case-by-case basis and that they are very limited in number.”
As the Navy’s understanding of COVID-19 evolves and conditions change, Nowell wrote, all guidance will continue to be evaluated. Feedback from commanders is welcomed and is a critical part of revising current policies or issuing additional guidance.
“It is virtually impossible to address all specific cases or situations,” Nowell wrote. “However, commanders have the latitude to adjust direction based upon their unique situation.”
More information is available in NAVADMIN 116/20.
The latest DoD policies can be found at: https://www.defense.gov/explore/spotlight/coronavirus.
By Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs