The SEA’s Desk – February 2015

Recently, many of our Service members have been told that it is time to “go home.” Service draw-downs, Enlisted Review Boards, and Officer Continuation Boards have unfortunately become force shaping tools generating pink slips for thousands of Service members. This, coupled with our nation’s financial difficulties and unemployment, has many Service members rightly concerned about their futures. All of us possibly know someone we have served with who is experiencing this uncomfortable feeling.

The reality is our Armed Services are reducing personnel in response to congressional mandated budget cuts and targeted reduction of military spending. What can you do to help those Service members you lead? What can you do to help yourself? Hopefully, you are investing your off-duty time in education and credentialing. Doing so enables you to speak from experience and helps set you as an example for others to follow. A college education or credential can help your immediate career and promotion opportunities, and place you in a better position for future civilian vocations.

Don’t know where to start? Take these steps to reach your educational goal:

  • Schedule a visit with an Education Services Officer (ESO) either personally or virtually. Also, do someone a favor; take a buddy or the person you’re mentoring with you.
  • If you are unsure what interests you or what you’re best suited for, make an appointment with an ESO to take an assessment/interest inventory test like Kuder® Journey.
  • If your vocation of interest requires a college degree or credential, seek advice to determine which school programs may best suit you.
  • Request a Joint Services Transcript (JST)reflecting American Council on Education (ACE) recommended military college credit for Service schools and training that could save you time and money.
  • Visit DANTES website ( to identify exams you can take (DSST/CLEP) to reduce required credits for school. These tests are provided free to Service members the first time they are taken and can significantly reduce the amount of college credit needed to achieve an education goal.
  • For a refresher on your college math and English, check out the Online Academic Skills Course (OASC) and the College Placement Skills Training (CPST). Both are self-paced and customized to you. These courses are at no cost to Service members and their family members 24/7
  •  Register for Tuition Assistance. Keep in mind that you must have an approved college plan and that you should choose a school that maximizes DSST/CLEPs and recommended ACE military credits to achieve your degree.

Remember: it’s never too early to start on the path to education success. Get started now!

In closing, this column affords a unique opportunity to reach out to my fellow Service members concerning Voluntary Education and DANTES programs. If there is an opportunity to visit or speak to NCOs, SNCOs, or at events at your military installation–please let me know, I would appreciate an invite. If you have a success story with military Voluntary Education that you would like to share, send it to me and maybe you’ll see it published in this forum. Until next time, contact me at I would enjoy hearing from you.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor
For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) website