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Supporting Service Members With Deployment Preparation


Each year, the military deploys tens of thousands of service members around the world. Planning and preparation is key to a successful deployment, including readiness on the homefront.

Service members are strongly encouraged to work with immediate and extended family members to address financial, legal and household matters to make sure everything back home is secure while they are away. Below are some of the tasks service members should complete during the predeployment phase and how you might be able to help.

Recognize each deployment is different

Exactly how service members prepare for their upcoming deployment depends on their specific orders to mobilize. Some deployments include an 18-month “cruise” on military ships performing routine patrols. Other service members may land at a forward operating base, or FOB, in combat zones. Others may deploy to duty stations with restaurants and shops you’d recognize back home.

No matter the deployment, service members undergo specialized training, briefings, medical evaluations and counseling.

Learn more about your service member’s predeployment preparations through Plan My Deployment.

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Get free legal help

Service members can get free legal help for drafting powers of attorney, wills and other necessary legal documents.

Installation legal assistance/JAG offices or a civilian attorney can draw up these documents.

Update emergency contacts and insurance coverage

It’s important your service member ensures their DD Form 93, or Record of Emergency Data, and life insurance coverage are current.

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Complete DD Form 93, Record of Emergency Data

The DD Form 93 lists who should be notified in the event of an emergency. This is also the place where service members designate beneficiaries in the event of their death.

To learn more, invite your service member to view the e-tutorial “Completing the DD93.”

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Review Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance enrollment

Service members receive automatic life insurance coverage of $500,000 upon enlistment. Through SGLI’s Online Enrollment System, or SOES, service members can:

  • Review, increase or decrease their SGLI coverage
  • Add a beneficiary or edit the beneficiary’s information
  • View, print or download their SGLI coverage certificate

Break contracts and pay future bills

Service members are still responsible for their bills while they’re deployed. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows service members to terminate some leases and contracts during deployment, including auto leases, phone contracts or residential leases without fees or penalties. Encourage your service member to contact their installation personal financial management services to:

  • Learn about terminating leases due to deployment or PCS.
  • Explore other service providers or companies that will suspend or greatly reduce charges while your service member is away, even if it’s not required by law.
  • Consider automatic payments for other recurring bills, either with credit cards that will not expire during their deployment or by using direct withdrawal from an active bank account.
  • Freeze credit altogether while away in order to prevent identity theft.

Ensure family care, enrollment and benefits

Service members should manage the following logistics for their family members prior to deployment.

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Create a family care plan

Service members who are single parents may ask others to care for their children while they’re deployed. If you have been asked to be the designated caregiver, ask the service member for an official family care plan. A family care plan includes information on the family’s daily routine, available military services and other important details you’ll find useful during your guardianship.

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Update DOD ID cards

Children should have up-to-date Defense Department identification cards before your service member deploys. These ID cards verify their status as military family members for services, as well as allow you to shop on their behalf as their guardian at installation commissaries.

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Enroll in the Defense Eligibility and Enrollment Reporting System

All family members, including children and spouses, must be enrolled in DEERS before they can receive many military benefits, including TRICARE health insurance. Your service member is the only one who can add or remove family members, so be sure the service member double-checks the family’s enrollment status before deploying.

Plan for combat-related special compensation and deployment savings benefits

Deployments may involve special and incentive pay, as well as possible tax exclusions and other benefits for service members sent to specific areas or possessing certain jobs.

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Make a financial plan for special incentive pay

Service members may receive extra income from special incentive pays. This can be a great time to pay off debt or put away some extra money for retirement or other savings goals. Encourage service members to make a deployment plan for staying fiscally fit.

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Explore savings plans

Deployment also qualifies service members for the Savings Deposit Program, which earns 10% interest compounded quarterly on up to $10,000 every deployment. If their budget allows, service members can also contribute up to $50,000 of their tax-exempt pay to their Thrift Savings Plan every year they’re deployed.

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Access free financial counseling

Military OneSource offers service members free financial counseling to help plan for extra income or for possible financial hurdles they may face during deployment.

Figure out a communication strategy

Before your service member deploys, make a plan for how you can get in touch with each other, especially if this is your first deployment together. Just like when service members are at basic training, they will be busy and may not have the time or opportunity to respond immediately. It could take several weeks before they are able to contact you. Once they do, they will be able to give you an idea of how frequently they can communicate and by what means.

Also, find out if they can receive care packages at their deployed location and what they’d most like to receive while away. These requests may change based on their deployment experience, so stay flexible.

And remember, letters and notes from loved ones are priceless.

Get Connected to Military Life: Official eNewsletter

Keep in touch with the cadence of military life, understand its rich traditions and learn ways to support your service member with the Friends & Family Connection eNewsletter.


Learn more about predeployment support

Find out more about what happens during the predeployment phase for service members and their families.

  • Learn about the tasks, briefings and other preparations your service member undergoes before deploying at Plan My Deployment, a free online tool available to help military families organize and understand all phases of deployment.
  • Visit the Military Deployment Support webpage for an overview of other deployment resources.

Learn about support services available to National Guard and reserve service members when activated

National Guard and reserve service members have access to free support services ranging from financial planning to professional counseling. Learn more about available assistance when your Guard or reserve service member is called to active duty.

Resources, benefits and support services for Supporting Service Members With Deployment Preparation

Still have questions or need help finding information?

Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 to connect you and your service member with the resources to master your deployment.

Call 800-342-9647.

Call Military OneSource to set up a free and confidential consultation.


Set up a live chat.

Call Military OneSource to set up a free and confidential consultation.


Use overseas calling options.

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