Moving & Storage Industry Urges Congress to Slow Down on Fully Privatizing Military Moves
March 11, 2019
ALEXANDRIA, VA — This week members of the American Moving & Storage Association are delivering a message to their senators and representatives on Capitol Hill: Congress should slow down on fully privatizing military moving and establish a Working Group to identify and recommend ways to improve the moving experience for military servicemembers. Recent and highly publicized challenges with the privatization of military housing management have provided a cautionary tale on this practice. The industry fears that moving quality will suffer and more companies will stop handling military moves if persistent problems within the existing program are not addressed first.
“The moving and storage industry shares U.S. Transportation Command’s goal of improving the moving experience for our nation’s servicemembers. Our common-sense approach is to fix problems in the Defense Personal Property Program, or DP3, before any aspect of management is changed, not after. If the program is not on firm footing and someone else takes over, we risk allowing longstanding problems to remain or get even worse. Service members already face a stressful time during transfer. We simply can’t risk kicking them when they are down,” said Vice President of Government Affairs Paul Milotte.
The Department of Defense first came under fire last year from a variety of stakeholders for challenges faced during the summer “peak season,” which is from May-August, when almost half of all servicemember moving shipments occur. During this summer surge, the average number of total moves handled by the program spikes from 5,000 per week to more than 12,000.
Despite these hurdles, the moving and storage industry currently has an overall 91 percent customer satisfaction rating with servicemembers. The industry has attempted to collaborate with the DoD to identify and implement solutions but to date, most of industry suggestions have not been implemented with little to no rationale given as to why.
The American Moving & Storage Association believes that having a 3rd-party management company assume DP3 functions without first addressing existing problems and other business challenges would ultimately fail to deliver the improved level of service that military families deserve. The establishment by Congress of a Working Group would provide a structured and transparent process for federal stakeholders and the industry to communicate and provide effective solutions, grounded in industry expertise that can deliver real improvements to servicemembers and their families. The Working Group would regularly report back to Congress on its progress, thus achieving sufficient oversight.
“Professional movers are proud to help America’s heroes — those who serve in our nation’s military — when they are relocated to a new duty station within the U.S. or around the world. We want to make sure that military families get the best service possible during what can be a stressful time in their life as they move all their personal possessions from one place to another in order to defend our country. Establishing a working group will provide the proper structure to improve communication and produce actionable recommendations that can lead to immediate and positive change for servicemembers,” said President and CEO Scott Michael.
The American Moving & Storage Association, home of the ProMover certification program, is the national trade association representing the nation’s moving and storage companies, which provide household goods moving services, specialized transportation for sensitive freight such as computers and trade show exhibits, and warehouse storage services. The association has approximately 3,500 members, including domestic and international companies and industry suppliers, and supports programs and activities that promote consumer protection, professional development, safety, and operational efficiency. Find out more at ProMover.org and Moving.org.