Service member prepares for deployment.

Cancelled or Postponed Deployment: Time for Contingency Planning

Gearing up for a deployment can be stressful. But getting those orders cancelled or postponed can be more so, especially after spending weeks, even months, preparing yourself for the mission—and your family for the changes.

Can’t dwell on it too long. That’s the military. You’ll likely have to undo some of the changes you’ve only recently made. Here are contingency management steps to consider.

Contingency Planning Is Part of Deployment Planning.

  1. First Things First
    • Alert family members and loved ones. After all that planning, expect some frustration. You may be irritated, while others may feel in limbo. Communicate with your family. Then create a contingency plan.
    • Secure your housing. Notify your installation housing office or landlord ASAP about remaining in your home if you’re renting. If you own and planned to rent your home or sell it, alert your property manager or realtor to the change of plans.
    • Contact schools or medical offices. If you’ve transferred school or medical records in preparation of the move, now is the time to get them sent back to their original locations.
    • Update your family care plan. Single parents, dual-military couples with children, and those who care for a disabled or elderly family member must complete this document. The plan outlines logistical, financial, medical, legal, and other matters and directs a family caregiver for your loved one(s). Alert the caregiver. Consider revisiting the document.
  2. Financial Matters
    • Adjust your family budget. Deployment can mean higher pay, but cancelled or postponed deployment may not. Revisit any changes made during your deployment planning to reflect the new financial reality.
    • Update allotments. You may have adjusted portions of your pay and allowances to other people, creditors or savings accounts based on the higher deployment-related pay you expected. You may want to cancel or revise those adjustments. Complete a Department of Defense Form 2558 or make changes through your MyPay account.
    • Change preauthorization for emergency financial assistance. Each service branch offers this assistance for families with demonstrated need. You now may have to cancel or adjust paperwork previously submitted. Contact your service’s emergency relief organization to make changes.
    • Heads up! Certain perks under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act — such as limiting interest rates on debt — will no longer be available if your deployment is cancelled. If suddenly your future feels uncertain, support is available through Military OneSource, the Plan My Deployment tool, or your military installation's Military and Family Support Center.
  3. Legal and Other Matters
    In preparing for deployment, you may have updated paperwork or several legal documents. As plans have changed, you may want to revise the following:
    • Power of attorney. This gives someone else authority to make decisions over your legal and financial affairs while you were deployed. Unless you revoke that authority, that person still can act on your behalf.
    • Will. This may or may not need updating. However, if you made updates based on planned deployment, you may want to review it with an attorney from your legal assistance office.
    • Living will. With this, you appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you can’t. If you opt to change this, your installation legal services office can help.
    • Insurance policies and other stuff. In planning for deployment, you may have made changes to several documents, which may be worth revisiting. This includes updating beneficiaries and coverage amounts on any life insurance policies to cancelling or changing your change-of-address form.
  4. Special Considerations for National Guard and Reserve Members
    • Civilian employment. A postponement can pose a challenge for National Guard and reserve service members who have already notified their employer of the upcoming deployment. You should provide notice as soon as possible that the deployment has been cancelled or postponed.
    • Check your deadlines for reemployment. National Guard and reserve service members still are covered under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act for their time spent on active duty preparing for the deployment. But the deadlines for reporting back to work or applying for reemployment vary depending on the amount of time you were away on military duties.
    • You will need to let your employer know within the timeframe specified under the act. If the new deployment dates are indefinite or in the distant future, you may need to contact your employer and return to work. You can receive more information on the protections and provisions of the act through your local legal assistance office.

Remember, the military is about relying on others. So reach out to the many military and family support programs that can provide additional information and resources if your deployment is cancelled or postponed. For contact information, visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.