USTC J9 Stop Movement/COVID-19 Call (28 April)


April 30, 2020

On Tuesday, TRANSCOM J9 held their latest Stop Movement call with Services and industry representatives. 


J9 was asked when the Peak Season message would be released.  We were told it will likely be Thursday or Friday.  J9 was also asked when refusals would start.  Danny Martinez answered that once published, shipments picking up 15 May or after would be eligible for refusals.  Per J9, there are still some details being worked out for the Peak Season message.  One example given was coordinating with the Services on whether industry can use spread dates this peak season.


When asked about the status of the Change 4 to the 400NG and IT, we were told they hoped to have it finalized this week as well.  But there were still details they were working out with DFAS and US Bank.


J9 also briefed they are close to finalizing guidance on increased Transit Times due to COVID-19. The advisory is coming soon.  J9 is close to finalizing a customized email to each customer on their increased transit times for shipments that were in pre-move survey complete status between 11 March and 14 April.  The transit times are automatically updated in DPS from 14 April and after.  When published, the advisory will lay out PPSO and TSP actions required for those shipments prior to 14 April. 


The advisory covering pass-through charges for air freight shipments is also close to being published.  Industry should expect it out “soon”.


J9 and the Services asked whether industry could expect a similar level of shipments for the Service Schools this year…War College, Staff College, Sergeant Major’s Academy for the Army, etc.  The Army was the only Service that responded to this question.  They stated there were still some items being finalized through the Personnel Directorate in the Army that they couldn’t discuss yet, on how those schools will be conducted, but that industry could “probably see similar volume in some of those cases.”


The Systems Branch gave an update on DPS that they were still trying to stabilize DPS, and improve TEAMS access.  They were asked when DPS analytics would be operational.  The answer was they were still working through it.  Some Service reps expressed the importance of getting DPS fully functional, especially if the summer ramps back up to full business.


J9 mentioned they are creating a smaller working group to get ideas about what industry capacity might look like, in July, August and beyond, assuming Stop Movement ends as currently projected. And whether DoD could count on the ability to maintain increased capacity levels through the fall and into December…and if so, at what level?  That working group held a call today (Wednesday) led by Lt Col Ryan, and discussed assumptions, facts, and risks associated with capacity.  Generally speaking, the group felt, if given the appropriate time to prepare (30-45 days) industry could be back up to summer peak levels in July.  And based on other markets potentially coming back more slowly than DoD, there might be even more capacity available in the fall than normal.  And if DoD commits to higher number of moves in the fall, and allows industry to plan for it, it’s likely much of the labor force could be maintained except for some portions such as college students, who might be back to school during that time.  More meetings will be scheduled to discuss this topic.


J9 mentioned that based on what is in DPS so far, and what the Services are projecting for the rest of the year, as it stands right now, the Services are projecting about 80% of the normal amount of annual shipments will still move.  Many factors could effect this number.


TRANSCOM trying to make sure OSD understands there could be limits in the immediate aftermath of ending the Stop Movement Order in terms of industry capacity…but that demands on the lead time industry has to prepare.  GEN Lyons is trying to get a sense from J9 what the max number of shipments on a weekly basis might be after Stop Movement is ended.  Is it 8,000 per week, 9,000?  J9 is inquiring.  They believe from their data, once shipments hit 10,000 per week, there is a direct link to lower CSS scores.


J9 mentioned quickly on the call that they were pushing out the Customer Safety advisory and form Tuesday night.  We saw that it came out.  It was the main topic of conversation today by many people who had major concerns or at least questions on the actual intent of the message as written.  We directed TSPs to voice their concerns to the organizational email box listed in the advisory.  J9 stated they will consolidate questions and answer them, and then provide a FAQ correspondence so all of industry knows what the questions were and how they were answered by J9.


The TRANSCOM Deputy Commander, VADM Mewbourne had the last word.  He told a story of the successful PCS move of the new Space Force Chief, as relayed to him by the Air Force’s top 3-star logistician.  He said the Space Force Chief wanted everyone to know how professional his movers were; wearing proper PPE, on-time and well done.  VADM Mewbourne relayed that moves are filled with anxiety, fear and frustration under the best of times.  Add the current virus situation to it and it ramps up the tension.  But he believes the moving industry has an opportunity to show everyone the industry can professionally and safely handle everyone’s move…and industry can come out of this rebranded, showing everyone who’s ever had a bad move that this industry can represent all that is great for America.


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