A recent upgrade to the Pentagon's online military move portal aims to make the system more user friendly for relocating troops, officials told Military.com this week.
Launched in 2009, Move.mil was designed for two tasks: Connecting service members with the U.S. Transportation Command (TransCom) Defense Personal Property System, known as DPS, and helping all users -- troops, moving companies and the DoD's transportation offices -- with information.
But despite a series of upgrades, the site was notoriously difficult to navigate or use, and was not optimized for mobile devices.
Rather than try to satisfy the needs of three different kinds of users, TransCom officials say the site has been simplified to serve a single key demographic: troops.
"Really, what we're trying to do is we're trying to do the entire program so it's more focused on the user in general," said Army Col. Ralph Lounsbrough, chief of TransCom's personal property program.
To make sure the site helps moving troops and families, TransCom sent a team on a fact-finding mission to discover the major pain points of the military move process, Lounsbrough said.
Although he has relocated 12 times over his own career, he wanted to make sure his team was focusing on families on the ground, he said.
"They did a lot of work last summer at the shipping office level, and all the way down to actually going to people's houses while moves were going on and interviewing them," Lounsbrough said. "We sat down and mapped out all the things we learned from that. ... It was good to get that information from the service member as to what was really giving them headaches so we could design the new Move.mil for that."
The result is a website upgrade that includes a much easier to navigate and mobile-friendly interface, as well as a series of tools -- including a pair of plug-and-play calculators to help troops estimate their entitlements and how much the government will reimburse them if they decide to move themselves.
Lounsbrough said he hopes troops and families can look to Move.mil as their go-to, most useful tool when getting ready to relocate.
Going forward, Lounsbrough said his team is working on an upgrade to DPS, the system troops use to do everything from scheduling their pack-out to filing claims for damaged household goods.
He hopes it, too, will be both mobile friendly and easy to use in the future.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at email@example.com.