New system to improve shipments of troops’ household goods delayed

by Tommy Grant

The vast majority of service members making a permanent change of station in 2024 will not be moving under the parameters of a new $6.2 billion contract that aims to improve the shipment of troops’ household goods. Instead, military personnel will be moving under the current system, according to U.S. Transportation Command officials.

Changes aimed at smoothing military moves are delayed while officials try to ensure two new systems — the government’s MilMove and the new contractor’s HomeSafe Connect — can operate together. Testing designed to iron out lingering challenges will run through the end of January.

The contractor, HomeSafe Alliance, was supposed to be ready to facilitate moves in September 2023. The Pentagon wanted to use the new system to move all domestic shipments by peak season 2024, which generally runs from May to Labor Day.

That time frame has been pushed back, and the military hasn’t determined when it will begin a phased implementation for moves at a limited number of locations. The rollout is expected to pause during peak season.

HomeSafe Alliance’s three-year contract aims to solve longstanding problems for service members and families whose belongings are too often lost or damaged during moves.

HomeSafe will be fully responsible for DOD moves, officials said, ideally creating a more transparent and accountable process of assigning a moving company to a household; packing, hauling and unloading their possessions; and handling any loss or damage claims. TRANSCOM will continue to oversee the program.

The moving company customer satisfaction rate among troops and their families was 78% in 2023, according to Andy Dawson, director of the Defense Personal Property Management Office at TRANSCOM. Customer satisfaction regarding claims for loss and damage, meanwhile, sat at just 41%.

“That’s tens of thousands of service members and families that aren’t satisfied with their relocation experience,” Dawson said. “We owe it to them … to do everything we can to improve the quality of life that our service members and families deserve.”

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families.” She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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