Movement of Household Goods:

DOD Should Take Additional Steps to Assess Progress toward Achieving Program Goals

GAO-20-295: Published: Apr 6, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 6, 2020.

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fielde1@gao.gov

 

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DOD is the largest customer in the nation’s personal property moving and storage industry—accounting for about 15% of all moves (about 400,000 shipments a year). U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) manages the DOD program.

DOD proposed putting a single commercial move manager in charge of moving and storage, in part to address customer complaints.

TRANSCOM plans to award a multi-year contract, and determine, in the contract’s third year, the number and cost of the DOD oversight personnel needed.

We made 3 recommendations, including that TRANSCOM develop a process to track data during the first 3 years of the contract to inform its manpower study.

A person moving boxes onto a moving truck

A person moving boxes onto a moving truck

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Elizabeth A. Field
(202) 512-2775
fielde1@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

What GAO Found

The U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) has developed cost estimates to assess the cost implications of adjusting the Defense Personal Property Program (DP3), its program to move and store servicemembers' household goods, to incorporate a single move manager approach through the Global Household Goods Contract. However, TRANSCOM may not have accurately calculated some Department of Defense (DOD) costs because of unanswered questions about how tasks related to counseling servicemembers and overseeing contractor performance will be performed. DOD plans to conduct a manpower study in the third year of the contract to determine the number and cost of government personnel required to perform these tasks. However, TRANSCOM does not have a process in place to track data over the initial years of the contract to inform its manpower study, such as the number and associated cost of military service personnel needed to perform contract oversight. We have reported that organizations should determine their personnel requirements by identifying the minimum number and type of personnel needed to fulfill their missions, functions, and tasks by conducting a workforce analysis. Without a way to track key data, DOD risks conducting a manpower study that would result in less than a full understanding of the personnel and cost implications of the move to the Global Household Goods Contract.

TRANSCOM has developed performance metrics for assessing some, but not all, DP3 activities. For example, TRANSCOM has developed indicators for assessing contractor performance, including the timeliness of household goods deliveries under the Global Household Goods Contract. However, TRANSCOM has not developed metrics for other activities that DOD personnel will continue to perform at least partially once the contract is in place, such as servicemember counseling. Further, TRANSCOM has not articulated how existing metrics link to TRANSCOM's program goals that relate to servicemembers' household goods movement and storage experience (see fig.).

Factors Impacting Servicemembers' Household Goods Movement and Storage Experience

Factors Impacting Servicemembers' Household Goods Movement and Storage Experience

Without developing performance metrics for all DP3 activities, and articulating the linkage between metrics and goals, TRANSCOM will have limited ability to assess whether a DP3 incorporating the new contract is an improved program for servicemembers.

Why GAO Did This Study

DOD, through its DP3, arranges for the movement and storage of about 400,000 personal property shipments of servicemembers and their families annually—40 percent of them during peak moving season. DOD has identified problems meeting peak season demand and addressing long-standing quality-of-service issues.

TRANSCOM announced that in April 2020 it would award a Global Household Goods Contract to a single commercial move manager to oversee DP3 activities that relate to the movement and storage-in-transit of household goods.

GAO was asked to evaluate matters related to DOD's plans to implement the Global Household Goods Contract. GAO assessed the extent to which TRANSCOM has (1) determined the cost implications of moving to a DP3 that incorporates the Global Household Goods Contract and (2) developed metrics to assess program activities and that relate to overarching DP3 goals. GAO evaluated TRANSCOM's cost estimates against the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide and a DOD business case analysis against GAO's Assessment Methodology for Economic Analysis.

What GAO Recommends

GAO makes three recommendations–that DOD collect and track data to more precisely determine DP3's manpower needs and costs, develop performance metrics for DP3 activities not part of the contract, and articulate the linkage between performance metrics and program goals. DOD concurred with all three GAO recommendations.

For more information, contact Elizabeth A. Field at (202) 512-2775 or fielde1@gao.gov.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should ensure that the TRANSCOM Commander, in coordination with the military services and the Coast Guard, develop a process for tracking data during the first 3 years of the Global Household Goods Contract to inform its planned manpower study during the third year of the contract to more precisely determine DP3 manpower needs and associated costs. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense

  2. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should ensure that the TRANSCOM Commander develop performance metrics for those DP3 activities that will not be a part of the Global Household Goods Contract, such as servicemember counseling and claims resolution that will, at least in part, continue to be performed by the military services. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense

  3. Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should ensure that the TRANSCOM Commander articulate the linkage, where appropriate, between DP3 performance metrics, including Global Household Goods Contract performance indicators, and overarching program goals. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Secretary of Defense

 

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