"Its time to PCS, so just pack up my stuff and ship it across county!" Yes, but its not quite that simple. There is a process in setting up your move, lots of moving pieces behind the scenes, and tons of information that gets thrown at you. Often you become a victim of “I didn’t know about that” when things start to go wrong. Other times, it is the common fear of not wanting to speak up in hopes the crews don’t retaliate on your household goods.
This year the Department of Defense and Transcom have stepped up their game with empowering families to have more say in who they allow into their home. Of course, much of that is in response to COVID precautions, but it is still a step in letting families have more power in that area. Previously, families would be stuck with the crews they were sent with little to no ability to have a say in it without the concern of being force to a Personally Procured Move (PPM, formally known as a DITY).
But there are numerous other things that you can do to be more prepared for your move, and to have more confidence when time comes for your next PCS!
1 – Know the regulations! I cannot stress this one enough! Did you know there are regulations that govern the process of your PCS? The Defense Travel Regulation (DTR) governs the physical movement of your PCS, while the Joint Travel Regulation (JTR) governs your PCS entitlements. The ones you should read through at a minimum are the DTR Part IV Appendix B, DTR Part IV Attachment K1, and the JTR Chapter 5. I know it can be a lot of reading, but I guarantee you the DTR sections will be worth it! (All links to these regulations are found in ‘The Resources’ tab of this website!)
2- Have a plan – How do you want your home packed? How do you want your home unpacked? Have a game plan in mind for how you want the process to go. You can ask your crew to start in a certain are or in certain rooms but know that you cannot prohibit the crew from doing their job. That means no asking all 7 members of your crew to pack one bedroom at a time. But you could ask for packing 2 bedrooms near each other and the hall closet, or packing the living room, dining room, and kitchen at one time. Same with your unpack at your new home. Have a plan for which rooms or which specific boxes you would want unpacked and be involved in the process.
3- Be Organized – Utilize a PCS binder of some sorts to keep all your important life documents together. Have your own high value inventory, and general inventory of other items in your home. Being organized and knowing where to find things will go a long way in reducing your stress.
4- Know who to call for help. Let’s face it, issues do happen during moves, and most times we are standing there upset and no clue on who it is we are suppose to reach out too. Keep a list in your PCS binder of who it is you contact and how to contact them. First your move coordinator, then your local transportation office, next is your regional JPPSO/PPSO office, and finally the Transcom hotline number. If you do not know those contact numbers, get on move.mil, click the customer service link and input your zip code to find the information you need. Keep a list of both your losing and gaining installations.
5- Ask the questions! This one gets a lot of folks. You don’t want to make someone mad and I get it. But if something doesn’t seem right, just ask! Sometimes different companies have different policies for how things are wrapped and handled, or maybe they are new are just doing what they think is right. If you want some more help on this one, look over the information move.mil and check out their FAQ page too!
Don’t go into another PCS feeling intimidated and unprepared. Take the time to prep yourself just as you would prep your home. You’ll feel more sure footed and confident on your next PCS journey!