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AMSA and IAM challenge the US Department of Defense

May 08, 2019
Both the AMSA (American Moving and Storage Association) and IAM (International Association of Movers) have challenged the report of the meeting hosted by Gen. Stephen Lyons, Commander of US Transportation Command (USTC), to discuss potential ideas to improve the relocation process for service members.

AMSA and IAM Challenge the Department of DefenseThe industry members who attended did not feel that the subsequent press release from USTRANSCOM (USTC) Public Affairs, accurately reflected the mood of the meeting.

According to IAM there are two specific statements in the press release that moving industry attendees felt were inaccurate. The first statement was, “Industry and DoD leaders agree the existing model no longer makes sense.” No industry or association attendee agreed that the current model “no longer makes sense”. However, nearly everyone offered ideas on how the current model could be improved to benefit the programme. Additionally, most of the attendees said that the single-source contract model would work against the General’s desired outcome.

In addition, IAM said that the statement, “package carriers scale capacity to manage holiday demand” ignores a number of realities associated both with package carriers and with DoD’s moving industry service providers. To read IAM’s full perspective on equating movers with ‘package carriers’, please read the position paper on the IAM website.

IAM added that industry leaders completely agree that the mutual goal is to provide military members with the best move possible. However, most of the industry attendees felt their voices were collectively ignored and that the meeting may have been used as an opportunity to put a pre-ordained spin on the Global Household Goods contracting effort. The vast majority of the DoD moving and storage industry believes this initiative will negatively impact the existing DoD household goods infrastructure and doesn’t actually take the necessary steps to provide the increased quality capacity championed by the General. Most DoD moving industry service providers believe they have the expertise to make significant improvements in the current programme without the DoD risking the existing committed capacity.

Paul Milotte, Vice President of Government Affairs for AMSA said that the USTC continues to push forward this proposal without fact-based assessments of how it will affect service members and the businesses that serve them.  “Telling over 900 transportation service providers that the only way to fix the programme is to privatise management of it to a commercial provider, then hosting listening sessions, and then proceeding as planned anyway, despite expressed opposition, does not constitute partnering with our industry,” he said. “Listening to our concerns and actually addressing them are two totally different things. How can the USTC accurately forecast our industry’s participation in this new scheme when they have not clearly told us what the new rules will be?”

 “Professional movers take great pride in the role they serve relocating our nation’s military families,” said AMSA President and CEO Scott Michael. “We agree with the USTC that current programme rules can be improved. We fear, however, that handing this programme over without first seriously addressing the perennial problems with it simply risks shifting blame from the Department of Defense to a contractor. In that scenario, the service member loses.  We want to work together with the Department of Defense, and other stakeholders, to improve the service for military families, but most decisions are being made behind closed doors.”

Photo: Scott Michael

Read the full IAM response here

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