There seems to be a lot of confusion lately as to whose side I am on and where I stand on the PCS process and the changes moving forward. Recently there have been articles that make me out to be the poster child for defiance in a war cry like manner with an agenda to pin a head on a stake while making these statements without talking to me.
Let me set the record straight.
First, I am not on anyone’s payroll. It may be shocking to believe that someone would put in so much time and effort on a cause without being paid for it. Crazy, huh? But that is what advocates do. When they feel strongly and passionately about an issue, they will work to bring awareness to the issue and to bring positive change to it without being paid for it. For those who continue to raise questions about me being on a payroll, my last paying job was 2016-2017 in Kansas, and because of the nature of our current remote location, and aspects of being a military spouse it might soon be Hobby Lobby or Target. But no, there is no moving company or industry association, or government entity that is paying me a penny to advocate and push for change on the moving process.
Now to the more important issues.
Yes, our current PCS process is broken. DPS is not user friendly, often crashes, has system timeouts, and fails to attach pictures to claims after hours spent trying to upload them. There is little accountability of anything outside of letters of warning or suspension, which are usually just a slap on the wrist. The DoD has created a hectic peak season time by cramming in almost half of the yearly moves into a 4-8 week period by giving everyone the same report date window and only cutting orders 30-90 days in advance. Families feel left to the wind when the avenues they are using to find help are shut down by disconnected numbers, unreturned phone calls, and emails that go unanswered. The claims process that is to give help to families when their household goods show up in pieces is often tedious and only paid out pennies on the dollar is some cases.
TRANSCOM’s answer to this is to move to a single source manager for the PCS process that should be a “fix-all” solution to our problems. Yes, I have been an outspoken critic of this proposed program, largely due to the lack of transparency given for this program, in addition to the past failed attempts to pass this program through the service chiefs. I am tired of being told this is the fix all solution without being given anything that really shows that it will be.
Every month in the advisory panel meetings that I sit on, the GHC is brought up asking for an update, asking to discuss something that was mentioned in the drafts that have been published, and each meeting we are met with a “we are not discussing that at this time, thanks” or “there is no update.” No, we need to discuss this, so we aren’t back here again in a few years having these same conversations.
Hint: Megan Harless doesn’t approve of the process because there is a lack of transparency and lack of conversations that include all stakeholders happening.
What I do know about the GHC – the single source manager should be able to apply financial penalties on companies when they don’t meet standards, it should streamline the process, it should allow more money to flow from the top down to the actual workers in our homes. Should. But again, I haven’t seen anything that shows that these would actually happen.
From how things are going, even with the GAO report being done, it seems as if this single source manager program will probably move forward and become our reality in the next few years. I remain a critic of the program until more transparency is shown, until military families can see how this program will look for them, and the discussions that need to happen do actually happen.
We have a very unique opportunity to have all the stakeholders together at the same party to discuss the issues each side faces, and to ensure the common problems we all face are addressed in the GHC, otherwise we are just handing over the problem to someone new without any oversight or accountability.
In the meantime, I will continue to raise the hard questions, to be skeptical of the process, to continue to most importantly educate military families of the regulations and processes, and to continue to work with both members of the moving industry and TRANSCOM on getting through this time.
If you want to know my opinion and take on something, reach out to me first before making me the poster child and enemy for your cause.