'Moving' in the digital age
Servicemembers now have more control over their entire relocation process.

CHIAfE+VRES, Belgium Aca,!" Moving to and from Europe is more complicated than relocating stateside, but through a new Web site, Servicemembers now have more control over the entire transportation process.

In the past, personnel had to schedule an appointment with their transportation office to manually enter data into a system, but now servicemembers can schedule the pickup and delivery of their household goods and unaccompanied baggage themselves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using the Defense Personal Property System, or DPS. They can even use DPS to file, negotiate and settle claims.

"I compare DPS to DTS - the travel system," said Nadine Hill, the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux traffic manager. "DPS is a Web-based system that allows customers to process applications from home or the office."

To begin, servicemembers, or a family member who has the sponsor's information, should visit www.move.mil and create an account. This can be done at anytime, even before orders are cut. After logging on, the Web site provides users with a self-counseling assessment and walks them through a six-step process.

The first step involves creating a personal profile and contact information. Next, users input information about the type of orders they have like permanent change of station, retirement, temporary Duty, etc.

At this time, it's not possible to upload a copy of the orders to the system, so Hill said servicemembers still need to drop off a hard copy or email a digital copy to their local transportation office.

Next, it's time to create an actual shipment. This is where the program's advantages are noticeable. Users can enter their requested pickup and delivery dates and even include if someone will be acting on their behalf with a power of attorney. They can also submit special items that will be included in the shipment like pianos, plasma TVs and more.

And for those who don't know how much their household items might weigh, a weight estimator is available that calculates the weight based on the number of appliances and furniture the user enters.

Once the application is complete and the information is submitted, Hill said the Defense Personal Property Program puts the customer in direct contact with a Transportation Service Provider. That TSP will communicate with the user and notify them of any changes.

"The earlier you start the process, the more likely you'll get the dates you requested," said Hill, "but the dates you choose in DPS are subject to change, so don't book your flight back to the States until you get a confirmation from the shipping office."

After filling out everything online, Hill said that the servicemember needs to contact the local Quality Control Inspector's Office for a customs briefing and to fill out customs paperwork that is not available on DPS.

She added that if the TSP notifies the servicemember of a date change, it's essential that they inform their local Benelux quality assurance office of that change for customs purposes.

To date, 10 people have used DPS within the Benelux, and it's a program that is in place for all services throughout the Department of Defense. That however does create one minor challenge. Hill said that since it's used worldwide by all branches, it tends to slow down in the afternoon.

"We recommend you log on in the morning, since we're up before the rest of the world," she said.

Hill also recommended that personnel start this process as soon as they get their orders. She said that DPS is only available for relocations that are more than two weeks out. Those happening sooner will have to use the old system.

Page last updated Mon July 20th, 2009 at 08:35