New Permanent Change of Station Ruling May Allow Private PCS Moves
A new permanent change of station regulation will soon make PCSing easier for service members. At the end of October 2022, the U.S. Transportation Command began the process of shifting the entire household goods (HHG) shipment system to a private company.
This new permanent change of station ruling is great news for military members. Here’s what we currently know.
Suggested read: PCS Cycle Rundown: Initial Orders, Peak of Peak Season, and Moving In
How Soon Until Permanent Change of Station Is Privatized?
The U.S. Transportation Command recently began handing over HHG shipments to a private shipping company in Texas by the name of HomeSafe Alliance LLC. HomeSafe Alliance is expected to take full control over the HHG system by peak PCS season 2024.
Transportation Command leader Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost of the USAF released the following statement: “Our families deserve a safe and quality moving experience and with this ruling, we move closer to that goal.”
The Global Household Goods contract between the U.S. Transportation Command and HomeSafe Alliance will give the company 100% control over the “complete door-to-door global household goods relocation transportation and warehouse services worldwide.” They’ll also have providence over the roughly 950 private companies that were previously utilized and managed by the military.
Why the Shift?
A PCS involves a lot of logistics because military families have to move their entire lives from one base to another every few years, often across the country. With PCS moves, the military generally manages all processes and systems involved – from contracted movers to weighing household goods.
Under military management, many military members undergoing PCS moves have been more than dissatisfied with the way things have been run. With worker shortages, lost or damaged household items, a plethora of delays, and just about any other type of moving snafu you can encounter cropping up with every PCS move, military members have been begging for new solutions.
Problems With the Move to Privatization
The idea of privatizing the permanent change of station process isn’t a new concept. The problem with making PCS moves privatized has been less a logistics issue and more of an issue with sticky legal matters. As is common with private companies looking to dip their toes into the defense industry, money was a primary motivator behind the legal hang-ups.
The contract awarded to HomeSafe Alliance for full control of PCS moves is worth a whopping $20 billion – not a small chunk of change, even by the military’s standards. This means that tons of companies were vying for the spot and doing everything they could to avoid a contract being approved that didn’t include them.
Luckily for HomeSafe Alliance, a federal claims court seems to have eliminated the latest challenges to their permanent change of station contract award. Early in 2022, the Government Accountability Office also denied several challenges to the contract in favor of HomeSafe Alliance.
How This Affects Military Members
The change to PCS privatization is undoubtedly a positive one for the 300,000-some-odd service members who PCS every year. HomeSafe is expected to streamline the system and provide more options and transparency for service members embarking on a move.
The CEO of HomeSafe Alliance LLC stated, “HomeSafe is committed to providing incredible customer service and resources to our service members, civilians, and their families. Combining our HomeSafe Connect advanced digital solution and global program management expertise, we will make the relocation process smoother for our military families.”
HomeSafe’s digital solutions will likely cut down on many of the moving snags that were encountered under military control and give service members more positive experiences overall with their “fast, easy, efficient… cutting-edge technology.”
Service members will also have access to HomeSafe Alliance’s 24-hour customer service line, a dashboard that lets them track their shipments, and online inventories for all of their home goods.
What Happens Now?
Though the $20 billion contract has HomeSafe Alliance taking control of all domestic and international HHG systems in their entirety by 2024, changes to the system will start just after summer 2023.
The contract, which is in place for nine years, will begin with the company taking over domestic HHG shipments. From there, the plan will be executed in a series of phases leading to their total control of the military permanent change of station process across the world the next year.