When there is a problem, they say go to the source. That’s exactly what I did. I had emailed US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) Commander, General Lyons. In the email, I had expressed the frustrations felt by families this move season, and that we were all looking for accountability of moving companies and for transparency. I also included the over 3 pages of questions that I had gathered, many from military families, as well as the stories that I had gathered from many of you who moved this year. I sent, and just hoped for the best.
To my surprise, I received a response from General Lyons. In his reply he stated his commitment to working with the military services, providers and OSD to improve the experience as well as providing the transparency for families. I was then put in touch with his point of contact on the Defense Personal Property Program, and a phone call meeting was scheduled.
In the mean time, I attended the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting held in Washington DC. I attended the Senior Leadership Forum where I was able to ask a question to Chief of Army – General Milley, Secretary of the Army – Dr Esper, and Sargant Major of the Army – SMA Dailey. The question I asked was:
This year has been what many call the worst moving season in a long time due to the gross negligence of the moving companies. What is the Army’s plan to hold these companies accountable in order to keep PCS season from being a financial burden on military families and will there be any transparency for families to see those accountability actions or repercussions on the moving companies?
You can watch the forum here, and if you scroll to the 31:15 mark you will hear the question.
The big takeaways from the answers provided by the senior leadership are this:
1) They acknowledge and know there is a problem.
2) They asked a senior person in the room with direct working knowledge of the issues for a better answer than “Transcom is working the problem”.
3) Secretary of the Army, Dr Esper mentioned some solutions such as moving single Soldiers during off peak season and provided feedback about moving company info he would like to see easily available to include the reprimands.
4) SMA Dailey continued to emphasize the importance of filling out the claim and survey paperwork
5) General Milley asked several questions that he wants answers to as well in order to provide a better answer.
A few days later, I finally had the phone call meeting with Transcom. I learned a lot during this meeting, and excited about the things that are coming. Between suspension and warning letters, there were nearly 6,000 sent out to companies this year. There are several pilot programs being launched between now and next peak season to test their effectiveness, with the hopes that they will be rolled out at every location (more to come on this soon!), as well as a new program to replace DPS. In addition, there will also be the creation of an advisory panel which will help gather feedback from military families to aide in the process of making positive changes to help better the process and experience.
There are many good things that are coming from the petition. Changes and fixes are not going to happen overnight, and it is comforting to hear some of things that are going to be in the pilot and test stages in the next few months.
I have some follow up on few pieces I need to do, and I will update again as more information become available.
Petition – http://tinyurl.com/MilitaryMovePetition
Original Open Letter Post -https://www.facebook.com/MilitarySpouseChronicles1/posts/322816208469769/