Since late 2017, the Army’s more than 500,000 National Guard and Reserve soldiers haven’t been able to browse short-term Army vacancies except on a government network. Thanks to a new provision in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, however, the service will now make those listings available on soldiers’ personal devices.

The Army advertises individual vacancies for deployments or short active duty tours on Tour of Duty, an online job board tailored for the service’s part-time soldiers to volunteer for such roles. But the required trip to an armory to get on a government network was a barrier for many troops that don’t have access except while on base.

“The Army will comply with the [legislation],” spokesperson Bruce Anderson told Army Times. “We are considering evaluating the Tour of Duty portal access as part of the Bring Your Own Device pilot program planned for this year.”

The service will have a year to implement the change.

Another new policy added that Guard and Reserve troops can now spend five years out of every six on temporary active duty for operational support orders (ADOS). Previously, such volunteers were limited to three years on ADOS out of every four calendar years.

Leaders of organizations representing Guard and Reserve troops praised the measure.

“Providing ease of access for Citizen Soldiers to find their next opportunity to serve is vital to their growth as soldiers and the readiness of the reserve force,” said the Reserve Organization of America’s Executive Director, retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, in a press release.

A spokesperson for the National Guard Association of the U.S. was cautiously supportive of the change, noting that ADOS roles were a “bandaid” for issues with permanent full-time manning.

“[This] has the potential to impact a lot of people,” NGAUS spokesperson John Goheen said, describing the provisions as a “win-win” that will give soldiers increased opportunities and create better application pools for critical short-term vacancies.

The bipartisan Tour of Duty legislative provision was spearheaded in Congress by Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-N.Y., and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

The author of this article is a member of NGAUS.

This article was updated at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2021, to clarify that Tour of Duty was accessible from non-government devices until late 2017.

Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.

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