SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command wants to remind service members, civilians and their families how to get help, if needed, during a permanent change of station move this summer.

The summer months are the busiest time of the year for moving. The volume of household goods moves is extremely high and there is only a finite number of Department of Defense approved trucks and service providers available to do military moves.

"Our support to the Warfighter is the most important thing we do," said Brig. Gen. Susan A. Davidson, SDDC commanding general. "And that includes doing everything we can to help service members and their families during a PCS move."

This summer, at some locations, the average wait time for a mover to arrive and pick up a member's household goods shipment after booking can be as long as 60 days.

SDDC recommends giving your Installation Transportation Office (or Personal Property Shipping Office) the first opportunity to assist, as they are equipped to resolve a majority of issues that occur during peak moving season.

SDDC works with the military services and the commercial moving industry to anticipate and circumvent potential problem areas that could arise with personal property moves, especially during the peak moving season. Communications, including conference calls and webinars are a constant, with more frequent emphasis leading up to and throughout the peak season. The command also produces brochures and information updates for service members with advice for moving during the summer months.

"This summer is presenting a little different challenge for us than past summer moving seasons," said Terry Head, president of International Association of Movers. "First, we are experiencing a significant rise in corporate moves this year, as opposed to previous, which is adding more demand to our current capacity. Secondly, we are also seeing a two-week shift of our normal busiest peak moving time because many schools have let out later in the year due to the harsh winter we experienced."

After last year's peak season, SDDC hosted a "Hotwash" meeting with the services and moving industry to discuss issues and avoid repeat problems during this year's summer season. As a result, several changes to the Defense Personal Property Program, or DP3, were made to help increase the quality of service provided by the moving companies this year.

The most prominent change raises the carrier's performance score via the Customer Satisfaction Survey from 50 to 70 percent. The goal is to keep the best carriers in the program by awarding them future business. You can help improve your next PCS, as well as others, by completing the survey after your move.

SDDC also approved requests from the services to expand the 'short fused shipment' window from five to 10 days decreasing the workload of ITOs and PPSOs and allowing transportation service providers more flexibility to accept shipments and meet customer's needs.

In addition to filling out and sending in your CSS, SDDC officials recommend the following courses of action to receive timely assistance.

Service members can be better prepared during this busy summer by planning and coordinating their PCS move as soon as they get their orders, paying attention to detail when they complete their forms, and most important, remaining flexible throughout the moving process.

First, SDDC recommends giving your Installation Transportation Office (or Personal Property Shipping Office) the first opportunity to assist. In the majority of cases, they can solve many of the problems that might occur during a move. ITOs are involved with the household goods booking process and the selection of moving companies for customers. Even if your shipment is booked through the website, the local ITO, or PPSO, can assist with many of the challenges associated with personal property movements.

Remember the majority of issues will be best solved at the local level, and in many cases, SDDC experts will begin their effort to help by reengaging with the local ITO or PPSO, so it's important that the local level be exhausted before going to the email provided.

If issues can't be solved at the local level, service members can contact an SDDC representative via the following email address: A personal property expert will respond and provide appropriate help.

Davidson said she'll make sure her staff stays focused on providing first-class service, but wants to remind service members and their families that there are things they can do to help themselves.

SDDC provides the following tips to help make the moving experience better:

- Once you get orders, immediately start your moving process for a better chance to lock in your preferred pickup and delivery dates.

- Since requested pickup and delivery dates may not be immediately available during this time, flexibility is very important. Building extra time into your schedule for unforeseen circumstances is recommended.

- Requested pickup and delivery dates are not confirmed until you and your commercial carrier mutually agree on the actual pack and pick-up dates.

For more moving tips, go to:

SDDC provides global deployment and distribution services to meet the nation's objectives and deploys/sustains about 90 percent of Department of Defense equipment and supplies by leveraging the capability of commercial industry and other military services.