If you’re military, you’ve probably done a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move. And if you’ve PCSed a few times, you’ve probably noticed some inefficiencies in the system.
I have long believed that the Department of Defense (DoD) should completely rework the PCS entitlements that get military family’s stuff moved. I think an overhaul would decrease costs and improve military family happiness with the moving process.
There are two major parts to a PCS move: household goods (HHG) and privately owned vehicles (POVs). If you’ve been reading the military news, you know that the new POV contractor is having some significant trouble meeting its obligations, and people are mad. Perhaps this will open a discussion about the way that the DoD does entitlements.
Here’s my proposal: Modify the current entitlements to provide a cash incentive to NOT use the entitlement.
What do I mean? Let’s look at POVs. Most overseas PCS moves come with the entitlement to ship one vehicle to and from your new duty station, or to have a vehicle stored at government expense. This is not a cheap prospect: Moving a vehicle from the US to Europe can cost between $750 to $4000, each way. Shipping a vehicle to the Pacific is more expensive, with remote locations costing even more.
What if military members were given a third option: Ship a vehicle at government expense, store a vehicle at government expense, or receive a cash allowance equal to half the shipping cost? Even if only a percentage of people took the third option, the government would save money. More importantly, service members would have more choice, which should equal higher satisfaction.
Let’s take the same type of choice and apply it to the shipping of household goods. What if military members were given cash incentive to ship less stuff? I’m not sure you can make the same type of straight line analysis here, because not everyone uses their full allowance anyway. But I am sure that the number crunchers could come up with some sort of figure that represents the average weight of a shipment at any paygrade or whatever other demographic. If you exceed the average, up to your limit, no change in current policy. If you bring your shipping weight down below whatever magical number, cash bonus! I would absolutely be more motivated to sort through old files, ditch the ratty sofa and move questionable clothes to the thrift shop if I thought there would some reward for me.
I think the potential for savings is huge, and it doesn’t seem like a complicated change.
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