FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Army News Service, Jan. 18, 2011) -- This year's peak moving season is expected to be even busier than usual due to Base Realignment and Closure and officials warn that prior planning is important to avoid stress.

With the final 243 days approaching for all BRAC moves, the peak Permanent Change of Station season between Memorial Day and Labor Day is expected to be hectic -- for both movers and their carriers.

To improve the process for those moving, and streamline the process for those who support it, the Military Surface Deployment & Distribution Command hosted a "Synch Drill" Jan. 12, at Army Materiel Command for all the key players in personal property shipping.

"Base Realignment and Closure has mandated moves for the Army to be completed by the end of this fiscal year," SDDC Personal Property Branch Chief John Johnson said.

"Because of the BRAC move of about 17,000 and the PCS moves of about 228,000 members, today's synch drill was all about getting the key players - the installation transportation offices and the personal property shipping offices - in one room so they can understand the unique challenges we have this year," Johnson said.

SDDC is a unique Army command with the global mission to provide expeditionary and sustained end-to-end deployment and distribution to meet the nation's objectives. Those services reach beyond seaports, to the hazardous roads into Afghanistan, the railroads of Iraq, the airport in Port-au-Prince, and anywhere American combat boots touch the ground.

But that's only half the story.

The command's impact on national defense extends to the household goods and vehicle shipments of all DoD servicemembers, civilians and their families, as well as providing defense transportation engineering services.

To improve the moving experience and streamline the process for those who support it, the Department of Defense developed a program called the Defense Personal Property Program, or DP3. SDDC manages DP3 with a focus on meeting the needs of armed forces members, DoD civilian employees and their families by promoting a higher quality of service.

In addition, members also have 24-hour access to personal property shipment information throughout the entire moving process at

" is a one-stop shop. It's a content-rich website to help members through the entire move process. It's got instruction videos and hyperlinks for information, and it has been updated since it was introduced in 2008," SDDC director of Personal Property, Air Force Lt. Col. Derek Oliver said.

Also on is information for members after the shipment has arrived. They can click on "After Delivery" and complete the Customer Satisfaction Survey. This is used to rate transportation service providers to ensure that only quality moving companies are used to handle personal belongings, Oliver said.

"We have a best value system under the DP3. Carriers receive a score based on your feedback. This survey accounts for half of his best value score. Those carriers with the highest scores receive the most shipments," Oliver said.

But before any of this happens, those planning a move should visit, register, and get familiar with the videos and hyperlinks to information. Once PCS orders are received, Oliver said they should immediately begin following the step-by-step instructions.

"Your orders are a key cog in the wheel of success," he said. "Typically, if you don't have orders in time, you're going to wind up being a short-notice move. But as soon as you get them, begin the move process."

Once the member selects a carrier, a pre-move survey will be conducted.

"They'll come out and walk through your house, looking at what you have and then the two of you will develop a timeline for when you'll get picked up and when you're going to move. Planning, preparation, and having a good feel of inventory all leads to a smooth move," Oliver said.

"The biggest thing that folks can do is realize that the earlier you get in and get your dates booked, the better off you're going to be," Johnson said.

"We are at war, and outside of conflict, one of the most stressful things you can do is move," Oliver said. "We have to get this right and we stand ready to succeed."