Service members choosing to utilize government movers during a PCS count on the availability and timely service of the contractors handling their personal belongings. As the military community prepares for the busiest part of the moving season, those contractors are concerned they won’t be able to deliver according to a recent Military Times article.
Concerns over government moves are nothing new to today’s military families. From broken or lost belongings to stolen moving vans, the personally procured move option is available because some service members prefer to maintain control over their household goods despite the extra work involved. Now, there is extra reason to be concerned over the logistics of transporting the belongings of PCSing service members.
Here We Go Again
In 2010, the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, responsible for the coordination of all Defense Department PCS policies, implemented the Defense Personal Property Program in a failed effort to smooth the process of connecting service members with contracted movers to transport their household goods.
The Defense Personal Property Program’s duty is to assign various contractors throughout military installations worldwide to assist in the packing and transportation of household goods. The regulation guiding the program includes a provision that suspends a company for up to 30 days if a contractor turns down a job due to scheduling conflicts. That takes away all job opportunities the company can receive in that time frame. As a result, contract companies felt compelled to accept all assignments and blamed the job allocation system for the appointment chaos that left service members waiting for movers who never arrived because they could not turn down jobs when overbooked. Since then, SDDC has waived that policy to allow movers to turn down moves without penalty.
Impact On Your 2015 PCS
For the 2015 PCS season, SDDC has reversed position and reinstated the policy. Instead, moving companies will be responsible for “blacking out” dates that they anticipate being too busy to take more jobs far in advance of the scheduling.
SDDC defends its policy change with the belief that the regulation as written provides moving service members with access to the highest rated contracted companies (who are first able to accept the move). The contractors have voiced the concern that the opposite effect is likely occur. Highly rated companies wishing to protect that rating will more aggressively black out the peak system to avoid the possibility of suspension. The cascading effect will by that those moves will then be assigned to lower rated companies who may be less able to handle the high traffic.
What Can You Do?
1. Get Ahead
Transportation officials have voiced that the best option for service members is to schedule your transportation appointments as early as possible – in most cases, once you have hard copy orders in hand. In some cases, particularly when time is short, it is worth calling your transportation office to see if you can make the appointments with your RFO (Request For Orders).
2. Take Control
Service members also have the option of a PPM (personally procured move or DITY) to ensure that your move happens on your terms. A PPM could involve renting a uHaul and driving your household goods across the country. It could also involve an option like uShip or uPack – where the service members packs their household goods themselves and schedules a contractor to move the shipment to the new duty station.
AHRN.com PPM Resources
- Is A DITY/PPM Right For You?
- 5 Tips For A Better DITY/PPM
- 5 Reasons To DITY/PPM
- Make The Most Of Your Partial PPM
We want to know:
Have you had difficulty scheduling your HHG pick up? Would you rather move your own belongings?