Military Spouse Preference Program

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To schedule an appointment to receive counseling for the Military Spouse Preference Program

or the Army Family Member Program, please call the Fort Campbell CPAC at 412-9090/8481;

or by email at

General Information

Military Spouse Preference (MSP) is authorized by Public Law 99-145, "DoD Authorization Act of 1986," Section 806, "Employment Opportunities for Military Spouses." This section implemented measures to increase employment opportunities for spouses of Armed Forces military members. The intent is to lessen the career interruptions of spouses who relocate with their military sponsors. MSP provides priority in the employment selection process for military spouses who are relocating to accompany their military sponsor on a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move to an active duty assignment. Spousal preference is one of several initiatives to enhance the well-being of military families:

          -MSP must be listed on the Servicemember's PCS orders to the new duty location

          -MSP applies to spouses of active duty military members of the US Armed Forces, including the US Coast Guard and full-time   National Guard, who desire priority consideration for positions at DoD activities in the US and its territories and possessions 

          -MSP applies only within the sponsor's permanent duty station commuting area

          -MSP applies only if the spouse entered into the marriage with the military sponsor prior to the reporting date to the new duty assignment.  Does not apply when the sponsor is separating or retiring

Preference applies to DoD appropriated fund positions at grades GS-15 and below (and equivalent wage grade positions) in the competitive or excepted service. Positions that require mandatory mobility agreements and positions in intelligence-related activities are excluded. Preference also applies to positions in non-appropriated fund instrumentalities at grades UA-8 and below (or equivalent levels).

Program Requirements

Military spouses must contact the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) to schedule a counseling session to request registration into the Military Spouse Preference Program.  Registration can only be completed by the CPAC.


Military spouses who are appointable to a position in the competitive service exercise their preference by registering in Program "S" of the DoD Priority Placement Program (PPP).  After completing the registration process the Military spouse must follow the established procedures by applying to a specific vacancy announcement. Program "S" applies only for employment within the United States.

Spouses must be in one of the following categories to be appointable:

           - A current Federal career/career-conditional employee 
           - Serving under a VRA or Schedule A handicapped appointment
           - Have Reinstatement eligibility under Executive Order (EO) 12721, Eligibility of Overseas Employees for Non-competitive Appointment
           - Have appointment eligibility under Executive Order (EO) 13473, Military Spouse
           - Or, have competitive service eligibility based on employment under other merit systems.

Spouse preference eligibility begins 30 days prior to the sponsor's reporting date to the new duty station and continues until the spouse accepts or declines a continuing appropriated or non-appropriated fund position from any Federal agency in the commuting area or eligibility expires due to time restrictions for individual categories. Spouse preference eligibles must indicate whether they are interested in temporary positions. MSP eligibility for the Priority Placement Program (PPP) expires two years after the issue date of the Servicemember's PCS orders.

Spouses should ensure they have the following documents with them to register for preference:

          - Resume 

          - Copy of an SF-50 documenting current or previous appointment(s)

          - Sponsor's PCS orders

          -Copy of last performance appraisal, if current Federal employee. Performance/Conduct cannot be less than satisfactory

          -EO 12721 paperwork showing eligibility (if returning from an overseas area, other than Alaska or Hawaii)

          -DD 214, Member copy #4 or #2

          -SF 15, if claiming 10 point preference and letter from the Veteran's Administration showing the percentage of disability

          -Transcripts may be necessary if education requirements apply

          -Licenses/certifications; if applicable