Army Enlisted Assignment Exchanges (SWAPS)

One Way Soldiers Can Change Their Assignment

US Army Soldiers travel by bus
Pvt. Pedro Ruiz moves toward the barracks after arriving by bus from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. By T. Anthony Bell, Fort Lee Public Affairs (United States Army) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know that a soldier at one Army installation can agree to "swap" assignments with a soldier at another installation, as long as it doesn't cost the government any money?

It's true, and it's part of a little-known and little-used program for exchanging assignments, unofficially known as the "SWAPS" Program.

Soldiers Looking for SWAP Opportunities

Every month (or so) the Army Times publishes a list of soldiers who wish to locate others of the same rank, MOS, and basic qualifications, stationed at installation(s) they desire to be assigned at. Soldiers can use this listing to contact these soldiers desiring to SWAP, and make an informal agreement. One of the soldiers then initiates the SWAP request, using DA Form 4187 (Personnel Action).

Using Personnel Action DA Form 4187 for a SWAP

The soldier initiating the SWAP includes the following statement on the DA Form 4187:

“I have read and understand the provisions of AR 614–200, and hereby waive any and all claims against the U.S. Government for transportation for myself, my family members, my household goods, and my personal property incident to travel and shipment resulting from reassignment from (current station) Fort Defense, Virginia, to (new location) Fort Service, New York, as requested by me. I further agree to waive any and all claims against the U.S. Government for mileage allowances and/or per diem allowance both for myself and my family”

The initiating soldier also includes a statement like the following example on the form, from the soldier he/she has agreed to SWAP with:

I agree to an exchange assignment with FOX, Guy S.,000-00-0000, SGT 11B2O presently stationed at Fort Defense, VA. If this request is approved, I understand that all expenses (including transportation of family members and household goods) incident to this reassignment will be borne by me. I further understand that any time used as travel time between duty stations will be charged against me as ordinary leave. The following personal data are submitted: Name: WOLF, John S. Grade: SGT, E5 MOS: 11B Unit and station: Co A, 2d BN, 4th Inf, 86th Inf Division,
Fort Service, NY 01122.

How to Qualify for an Assignment Exchanges

In order to qualify for an assignment exchange or SWAP, soldiers must meet the following criteria.

  • Both soldiers must agree to the SWAP, must be of the same rank, same MOS (job), and be similarly qualified.
  • Exchanges must be CONUS (Continental United States) to CONUS or OCONUS (Overseas) within their same OCONUS command.
  • The commanders of both soldiers concerned must concur in the proposed exchange assignment, and agree on the date of assignment.
  • Soldiers must serve at least 12 months at current duty station and have at least 12 months time remaining in service upon arrival at the gaining installation.
  • Soldiers will pay all costs incurred in relocation, and all travel time will be charged as ordinary leave.
  • Eligibility for foreign service does not change, and no stabilization period is authorized for either soldier.
  • Soldiers in receipt of AIs, or in a deployed status, are not eligible.
  • If a married Army couple currently occupying a common household is separated because one soldier is granted an exchange assignment, the other soldier may not apply for reassignment to the same installation to reestablish a joint residence.