PCS like a champ

How to stay ahead of the hectic PCS move season

By Frenchi Watts Kemp, USAG Fort Lee Army Community Service and Ranger staff on July 8, 2022

FORT LEE, Va. - Between COVID-19 and Army efforts to improve the system for household goods shipments, permanent change of station moves have been increasingly challenging over the past few years.

The 2022 peak moving season, happening now, is proving to be equally stressful with nearly 40,000 shipping to new duty stations from June to September alone, according to Human Resources Command. It is an increase of approximately 3,000 moves compared to 2021, the HRC also reports.

On top of increased volume, there are economic challenges such as skyrocketing fuel costs, labor shortages, backed up shipping terminals and the continued effects of the pandemic. These factors, in tandem, are resulting in limits to moving and storage capabilities - so much so that military leaders are calling for installations to brace for a possible "brown out" or potential stop of PCS moves during the October/November timeframe.

Every installation is feeling the PCS pinch, and local leaders are taking the initiative to provide additional guidance to military families expecting to make a move. 

In regard to peak moving season, the FRP specialist team offers the following list of helpful tips for PCS moves:

1. Read your PCS orders carefully as soon as you receive them. Ensure they list all dependents by name. All entitlements should be included; for example, if shipment of a POV is authorized, it must be stated in the orders. If there appears to be missing details, contact your unit S-1 to get the orders amended. Keep original and amended copies of orders.

2. Schedule a "Plan My Move" relocation counseling session at the ACS Family Resource Center as soon as possible. ACS specialists can assist service members and their families with creating a personalized PCS checklist and an installation booklet for easy adjustment to the new duty station.

3. Attend all mandatory PCS briefings.

4. Make an appointment with the Transportation Office to receive household goods shipment counseling.

5. Complete Shipment Applications on www.militaryonesource.com by creating an account with the Defense Personal Property System, or DPS.

6. If the cost of the move is stressing you out, allow ACS specialists to assist with possible Army Emergency Relief support, Financial Readiness coaching, stress management and/or adjustment resources and referrals.

7. Save money by utilizing the ACS Lending Closet when the movers come for household goods or until household goods arrive.

Following are links to additional articles with good to know information as well. 

-   Army rolls out new app to improve PCS move experience, www.army.mil/article/234827.

-   DOD, Army make improvements to PCS process, www.army.mil/article/257684.

-   How to prepare for a smooth PCS with your pets, www.army.mil/article/254612.

-   Changes and tips for the 2022 PCS move season, www.army.mil/article/256483.