What is the Military Spouse Preference (MSP) Program?

The Military Spouse Preference (MSP) Program was implemented to help spouses of active duty service members of the US Armed Forces to ease career interruptions after relocation, or PCS: Permanent Change of Station) who accompanied their spouse/sponsor. Spouses who register with the MSP program receive priority consideration for positions available within commuting distance of the new duty station for Department of Defense (DoD) vacancies.

The MSP program:

  • Applies only if the military spouse accompanies the military sponsor to the new/different geographical duty station;
  • Applies only within the commuting area of the sponsor's temporary (training) and/or permanent new duty station, which is outside of the military sponsor’s previous commuting area;
  • Does not apply when the sponsor is stateside and is separating or retiring.  
  • Military Spouses are eligible to register as civilian spouses when the sponsor is separating or retiring from Alaska, Hawaii, or overseas;
  • Applies only if the spouse entered into the marriage with the military sponsor prior to the reporting date to the new geographical duty assignment.

Who Is Eligible?

Military spouses who have previously held or are presently holding Federal positions are eligible for referral through Program “S” of the Priority Placement Program (PPP) within the U.S., its territories, and possessions. Spouses must meet requirements listed under the Program “S”, and must be in one of the following categories.

  • The spouse was married to the military sponsor prior to the reporting date to the new assignment.
  • The relocation was based on PCS move and not for separation or retirement.
  • The vacancy is within the commuting area of the sponsor's permanent new duty station.
  • The spouse is among the "best qualified" group and is within reach for selection.

Applicants must be listed among the "best qualified" for the position. Those who wish to be listed as “best qualified” must score an eligibility rating of 80 or higher (not including points for veteran's preference). The Military Spouse Preference Program does not apply, however, when preference would violate statutes or regulations on veterans' preference or nepotism.

NOTE: Applicants claiming military spouse preference are required to produce PCS orders for proof of eligibility prior to appointment in the federal service. Failure to provide orders may result in disqualification of the pending appointment to a federal service position.

When To Register

A spouse may register no earlier than 30 days prior to the sponsor's reporting date and any time after relocating.

Where To Register

Go to the DFAS website and complete the online application process or after relocation, check into the personnel office at the new duty station.  Resumes will expire after six months.