Better Planning, More Oversight: Army Lays Out PCS Changes

Military moving van on Fort McCoy, Wyoming. (US Army/Scott T. Sturkol)
(US Army/Scott T. Sturkol)

Earlier orders, more thorough inspections and new education and management tools are just a few of the ways in which Army leaders are looking to make the military move process easier, senior officials said today.

"[Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville's priorities] ... household goods is settled right in the middle of that," said Maj. Gen. Michael Russell, the director of operations for Army Logistics. "That is the charge I received from our chief: improve our peoples' household goods experience."

Russell spoke Oct. 15 on a panel with three other Army housing and military move officials at the annual Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, D.C.

Russell, who has been in his current job for about three months, laid out four specific changes designed to make moving easier for soldiers. The changes combine better organization on the Army side with more information and oversight on the moving process itself.

First, Army leaders want soldiers to get hard orders for their new duty stations "at least 120 days before they PCS," Russell said. "What that will do is ... allow them to better mediate their own timelines."

Then, he said, officials want to empower military members to be more in control of their move. The Army plans to deploy more household goods inspectors on each base to make sure moves are going smoothly; roll out a new smartphone application to streamline moving resources and information; and do a better job of briefing soldiers on their rights and household good entitlements.

"People are not aware of all the benefits they have," he said.

The Army is working on those changes even as Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) moves towards privatizing the military move process. That effort follows complaints from across the services about lost and broken items, logistics headaches and poor oversight. TRANSCOM had previously reported that 10% of military members experienced a problem in 2018.

As part of that new contract, Russell said Army leaders are hoping the industry can use tools common in non-military moves, like household goods tracking that lets families see the location of their belongings throughout the process.

The contract is expected to be awarded early next year.

In the meantime, Russell advised Army families to use the personally procured move (PPM) process, previously known as a DITY move. By moving themselves and letting the Pentagon reimburse them, families can circumvent many of the problems like breakage and lost items, he said.

"Those are available, take advantage of them," he said.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at


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