PCS 2020: What You Need to Know About a Unique Military Moving Season

PCS 2020: What You Need to Know About a Unique Military Moving Season
A mover tapes up a box at an apartment at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, Germany, on May 22 while following health protocols. (Photo by Lisa Bishop/Army)

When it comes to military moves, DoD is shifting to a conditions-based approach where local commanders will manage risk, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, USA, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced during a May 28 virtual town hall.


Conditions have changed, Esper said, and those who were previously denied an exception to policy to PCS should re-apply. Three levels of waivers are now available, though the priority remains to protect the force and their families.


MOAA followed up with U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) officials to get answers to questions about the upcoming PCS season. Find their guidance below, and check Move.mil for the latest updates and waiver information.


[CONTACT US: PCS Problems? Email legis@moaa.org]


Q: What contract modifications were made for current movers under the COVID-19 environment?


A. In an effort to protect the force and deliver a safe moving experience to DoD families, the Department has directed a series of health protection measures for personnel moving under the Stop Movement period. DoD has directed that industry personnel adhere to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health protection protocols.


These measures include:

  • Wearing face coverings.
  • Minimizing crew size to enable social distancing.
  • Routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces (when permission is given).
  • Practicing good hand hygiene.


When a moving crew arrives at the curb for a pack-out or delivery, moving companies will present written verification that members of the crew have been screened for illness and will be properly equipped to adhere to these protocols.


[RELATED: Short- and Long-Term Improvements in Store for PCS Moves]


The moving crews also acknowledge – in writing – DoD customers’ decision-authority in the relocation process. This is important – families are empowered to:

  • Decide who enters their residence.
  • Question moving company personnel on their adherence to the aforementioned protocols.
  • Say “stop” at any point in the process. If families aren’t comfortable at any point in the process, they should stop work and reschedule their move. Period.


While families are empowered to make decisions, they are not alone. A DoD representative will contact every DoD member during every move (in person or virtually) to ensure protocols are followed. And if something’s not right, local transportation offices and the chain of command will get involved to make it right.


These measures were coordinated with the DoD medical community and discussed with industry executives from the moving and storage industry (and the associations that represent them) before USTRANSCOM directed that industry implement them. Industry has been a superb partner in this. They recognize this is about people and are just as interested in protecting their own personnel as they are DoD personnel.


Q. What are the required CDC safety measures for movers?


A. The health protection protocols involve processes to screen employees, ensure crews practice social distancing and employees have simple face coverings, equip employees to practice good hand hygiene, and equip crews to handle simple clean-ups.


[RELATED: MOAA's PCS Tips, Tricks, and Resources]


Q. What are the impacts to the new Global Household Goods Contract with American Roll On Roll Off Carrier Group (ARC) and partner companies for February 2021 to account for COVID-19 conditions?


A. To date, COVID-19 has not impacted the Global Household Goods Contract. At this point, no modifications related to COVID-19 have been requested by ARC nor contemplated by the Government. USTRANSCOM continues to closely monitor the situation and will implement an appropriate contract modification, if necessary, prior to issuance of the first move task order (i.e. 1 Feb 2021).


Q. How do inspectors and contracting officer’s representatives (CORs) ensure movers will comply with CDC guidelines for COVID-19 such as screening, face masks, and cleaning standards?


A. DoD will conduct compliance checks (either in-person or remotely) on 100% of moves during the Stop Movement period. When issues are identified, the DoD representative will take responsibility – on behalf of the DoD customer – to notify the appropriate office to resolve the issue. Quality control inspectors are poised to respond with swift corrective actions if a moving company employee is non-compliant, unqualified, or not following appropriate guidelines on any move.


Should a customer feel uncomfortable at any time during the household goods pack-out or delivery process, they are instructed to inform their service provider, contact the local transportation office, and notify their chain of command.




Q. For overseas (OCONUS) moves: Will other countries accept household goods sanitation as adequate? Will they have their own requirements, such as proof that household goods were sanitized at the packing point before they will allow delivery?


A. We have not been notified of any country requiring that household goods (or any other commodity) be sanitized before being delivered.


Q. How will this pandemic affect the PCS of pets to and from overseas locations?


A. Pets are a very important part of many military families. We recognize how stressful moving with a pet can be, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, U.S. Transportation Command is not tracking that the pandemic is having any effect on the movement of pets to and from overseas duty assignments on TRANSCOM and Air Mobility Command aircraft.


Pets may still PCS with families on the Patriot Express. Service Members looking for guidance to move their pets can visit https://www.amc.af.mil/Home/AMC-Travel-Site/AMC-Pet-Travel-Page/


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About the Author

Lt. Col. Mark Belinsky, USA (Ret)
Lt. Col. Mark Belinsky, USA (Ret)

Belinsky retired in 2019 after serving 22 years, with overseas tours to Afghanistan, Iraq, the Republic of Korea, and Germany. He joined the MOAA team in 2019 as Director, Currently Serving and Retired Affairs.