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News | March 17, 2014

Transportation official urges planning before PCS moves

By Amaani Lyle American Forces Press Service

With warmer weather comes peak moving season, so when orders are in hand, people should plan ahead to ensure the most hassle-free relocation, a senior official who oversees personal property moves for military families said in a recent interview.

Navy Capt. Aaron Stanley, personal property program director for U.S. Transportation Command's Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, told the Pentagon Channel that peak moving season is a moving industry phenomenon in which government and private-sector moves compete for the same resources during busy summer months, typically between the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays.

"Whether moving this summer or any time, do your homework, be flexible and know what your rights are," Stanley said.

The main moving issue is volume, with most families opting to relocate after their children are out of school for the year, he said.

Stanley said the Department of Defense conducted 520,000 moves last year, with about about 40 percent occurring from May 15 to Aug. 15, with similar numbers projected this year.

Stanley encouraged those with a permanent-change-of-station move on the horizon to propose multiple windows or dates for moving consideration.

"By having multiple dates in mind, we have the best chance of getting you the dates you're after," Stanley said. "And because of the busy summer season, the better you understand what the movers are supposed to do on your behalf, the better [prepared you will be] to hold them accountable to do exactly that."

By using the online Defense Personal Property System at http://www.move.mil, DOD personnel and their families can self-counsel and submit their applications online, track their shipments, file a claim, and settle directly with the moving company to get full replacement value of lost and damaged goods, as opposed to depreciated value offered in the past, Stanley explained.

"There are some changes being made to the claims module that should make it more user-friendly," he added.

Officials have been responsive to customer feedback, Stanley said, and he noted that a higher customer survey response rate -- currently at about 35 to 45 percent -- would improve their ability to see that the best moving companies get the most business in moving military families.

"That customer satisfaction survey is the underlying foundation for the program, and its best-value approach accounts for 75 percent of the formulae to allocate shipments for [transportation service providers]," he said. "More feedback means a better program and good shipments to the right companies."
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