A mover carries a box of household goods onto a truck at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on July 16, 2021.

A mover carries a box of household goods onto a truck at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on July 16, 2021. (Nicole Leidholm/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — Service members and their families at 14 military installations can now move to their next duty stations using a new streamlined system for shipping their belongings designed to overcome longstanding problems with military moves.

Moves will be conducted initially within a 50-mile radius of a base. The geographic regions include Norfolk, Va., Jacksonville, N.C., Seattle/Tacoma, Wash., Camp Pendleton, Calif., and San Diego, according to an announcement Tuesday from Transportation Command.

“Starting with such a low volume, provides us the opportunity to ensure our systems and processes are working smoothly before they affect a larger group of service members and families,” Andy Dawson, director of the Defense Personal Property Management Office at TRANSCOM, said in the statement. “We will monitor these initial moves closely to identify and address any performance issues quickly, and use feedback we receive from service members, making adjustments as needed to ensure [global household goods contract] is delivering quality customer service.”

The command awarded its contract worth an estimated $6.2 billion to HomeSafe Alliance in November 2021. The company will provide “complete door-to-door global household goods relocation transportation and warehouse services worldwide,” once the company takes over military moves, according to the command.

Moves originally were slated to begin under this new contract in September. But technical issues arose in the development of the Defense Department’s MilMove and HomeSafe Alliance’s HomeSafe Connect — two new computer programs designed to plan, track and expedite moves, command officials said.

Defense officials said in February that new tests with HomeSafe were conducted in January, allowing them to move forward with the new computer systems.

The command developed a system called MilMove for service members to upload change-of-station orders and initiate a request for their new shipment to be scheduled. HomeSafe Alliance developed HomeSafe Connect to be used by service members, the government and industry officials to track a shipment sent from MilMove.

The process will eventually expand to include longer domestic moves. International shipments are not the focus now. The earliest date for international shipping would be September 2025, according to the announcement.

The Defense Department does not plan to add any new locations during peak moving season, May 15 through Aug. 31, according to TRANSCOM. More locations will be added afterward with 4% of domestic shipments projected to be under the new contract in September, 10% in October and November, 20% in December and all by the end of 2025.

The change in systems was driven by complaints from military families about delays in pickups and deliveries of goods and damage to items during transportation.

A 2020 analysis by the Defense Department inspector general found 20% of domestic household goods shipments in 2018 had at least one damage claim.

The analysis also concluded Transportation Command did not have reliable data to determine whether service members’ goods were being delivered on time or in good condition.

The full list of bases include:

  • Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

  • Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

  • Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C.

  • Naval Base Kitsap, Wash.

  • Naval Station Everett, Wash.

  • Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash.

  • U.S. Coast Guard Base Seattle, Wash.

  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

  • Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

  • Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

  • Naval Base San Diego.

  • Naval Base Ventura County – Port Hueneme, Calif.

  • Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.

  • U.S. Coast Guard Base Portsmouth, Va., will be included on the list before May.

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Matthew Adams covers the Defense Department at the Pentagon. His past reporting experience includes covering politics for The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and The News and Observer. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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