PCS Move Overhaul Underway for 2021
Big Changes Ahead for Next Year’s PCS Moves
LATEST UPDATE: USTRANSCOM Revokes Contract
On April 30, 2020, the US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) announced the award of a $7.2 billion contract to the American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group (ARC), which is based out of Parsippany, New Jersey and provides global logistics and shipping support to the US Government. ARC manages the largest roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) fleet under the US flag, and was one of seven companies that submitted an offer for the Global Household Goods (GHG) contract.
If you have PCS’d at any time in the past, you have probably experienced a number of issues while moving your household goods. From damaged cars, broken furniture, and even dropped contracts, making a mandatory move across the country can bring a ton of stress. In 2015, my family and I were moving from Fort Benning, Georgia to Fort Huachuca, Arizona under Army order. Because of a systemic failure, we had to hire our own moving company and pay for our PCS out of pocket. Not good.
In a statement given on April 30th, the USTRANSCOM Commander, General Stephen Lyons, said. “The contract was written by and for the Military Services, and addresses long-standing pain points DOD families have highlighted for years.” This massive overhaul of the Defense Personal Property Program (DPPP) is intended to “affix the accountability and responsibility lacking in today’s program.” Even with all the upcoming changes, DOD will retain all responsibility for household goods shipments.
Timeline for Proposed Changes
For the next nine months, ARC and the DOD will integrate their IT systems and processes, and they expect the first move under this contract to happen in February 2021. The company expects to handle 100% of all CONUS moves during the 2021 peak season. In October 2021, ARC will continue its transition with the intent of managing 100% of the CONUS and OCONUS moves for the 2022 peak season.
What Does That Mean For You?
If you are planning to PCS in 2020, all shipments will still fall under the existing program. Military personnel should head to https://move.mil for tools and information that can help prepare for this year’s move.
If you are looking at a 2021 CONUS move, especially after February, then you will be part of this new program headed by ARC. If you are planning for an OCONUS move for 2021, then you will also fall under the legacy program.
If you are planning for a 2022 CONUS or OCONUS move, then ARC will have completely taken over the contract and you will move under this new system.
ARC Group does plan to introduce digital tools that would be available to the customer, like those “modern tools we demand in every aspect of our personal lives.” This will be accomplished through an entity called Homefront Solutions, which indicates that there may be apps available for customers to use.
In TRANSCOM’s statement, they project that customers can expect:
- improved communication during the moving process
- improved service standards from professional movers
- accountability when something goes wrong
- a “streamlined claims process” in case of loss or damage.
I hope all of these things happen. I still have broken items from our 2017 PCS move, for which we’re still waiting on a call back.
So Who’s Handling Your Household Goods?
To handle the transition, ARC has assembled Team ARC, which includes:
- Unigroup (parent of United Van Lines),
- Atlas World Group (parent of Atlas Van Lines),
- Suddath, a 100 year old logistics company and the largest supplier of HHG support for the military
- The Pasha Group, who has served the DPPP since 1980
- Deloitte, offering ARC their expertise in IT, engineering, and cybersecurity
- ARC Group
Some of these companies may sound familiar if you’ve ever moved before. With that said, if they are keeping some of the same van lines from the previous operation, how realistic is it for TRANSCOM to expect the best moving services for the military community?
Is The Overhaul Worth It?
To assuage any fears and doubts in their customers’ minds, ARC offers these three improvements to the current system:
- In Transit Visibility – where they offer detailed point-to-point status updates on a shipment via iOS and Android apps, or from their website.
- Customer Service – 24/7 availability, online or over the phone, to offer any assistance
- Dedicated Care – where they offer a single point of contact from the beginning to the end of a move, with communication throughout
Chief Master Sergeant Jason France said, “I’m confident that the Defense Personal Property Program will deliver the care and service they deserve.” This after indicating his frustration at the program’s shortcomings during his long military career, where he currently serves as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for USTRANSCOM.
So, if you’ve ever been frustrated over lost and damaged items during a mandatory move, then rest assured that there are service members working at TRANSCOM who have the same experiences. Hopefully, this multi-billion dollar overhaul will bring the results expected by DOD and deserved by our nation’s heroes.
(Image by Renee Guadet from Pixabay)
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About the author
Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.