The shift to private management of household goods shipments during military moves is being delayed yet again as U.S. Transportation Command and its new contractor, HomeSafe Alliance, work through technical issues with their respective apps.
The privately managed household goods shipments were originally slated to begin in September featuring HomeSafe Alliance's HomeSafe Connect digital interface, along with the military's new MilMove platform. The company said the Connect app would allow military families who change duty stations to schedule each aspect of their shipment, track their inventory, and get help with problems.
But spokespeople for the command and the company told Military.com this week that a date for the first shipment managed by HomeSafe Alliance under what's called the Global Household Goods Contract still hadn't been scheduled, as "enhancements" were being made to the apps. They said the goal remains to begin those shipments this year.
The PCS process has been plagued with dissatisfaction and problems for years, and the decision to place the shipments in private hands was meant to improve a vast and complex global system of shipping -- enabled by hundreds of individual private moving companies -- that the military has struggled to manage.
Transportation Command awarded the estimated contract, worth a total of nearly $20 billion over a decade, to HomeSafe Alliance, a company created specifically for the purpose, in November 2021 following fierce competition among several contractors. The contract included "complete door-to-door global household goods relocation transportation and warehouse services worldwide," according to the announcement.
HomeSafe Alliance, a joint venture of existing moving companies, was contracted to "integrate a network of household goods service providers from across the existing sphere of the commercial moving industry."
A new user interface for shipments was promised as part of an improved experience for military families. The HomeSafe Connect app, together with Transportation Command's new MilMove platform, are slated to replace the existing Defense Personal Property System.
But testing of the two new apps "identified enhancements required prior to making the systems available to customers," TRANSCOM said in an announcement in September. Problems arose from the interoperability of the two systems.
Transportation Command originally awarded the contract to another company in 2020, which triggered a multiyear appeals battle among rival companies for the lucrative contract to manage all moves by military personnel.
A court ruling cleared away the final protests in October 2022, and Transportation Command began what it called a nine-month transition period with HomeSafe Alliance the following month.
The plan calls for HomeSafe Alliance's takeover to begin with local moves, described in the September announcement as "generally those that are packed, picked up, and then delivered in the same local area."
Once the phase-in starts, households with PCS orders will first have to find out via the Defense Personal Property Program whether their move qualifies for the new process.
If so, they'll be directed to start a customer account with MilMove to initiate the move by entering documents and information, finding out their weight allowance and being directed where to get more guidance. They'll then receive an invitation to join HomeSafe Connect, auto-populated with the information from MilMove, to arrange all the relocation activities.
Availability will expand "over the course of the next few years," according to TRANSCOM's fact sheet explaining the new process.
-- Amanda Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.