eGov/Mil Newsletter: May 7, 2014

May 07, 2014

In this Issue:

  • DPS Now Ready for Financial Updates
  • Change in CSS Messaging
  • Smith Tries for BRAC, McKeon Shoots Him Down
  • DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes
  • Congress Debates Army's Balancing Act

DPS Now Ready for Financial Updates

For some time now DPS has been experiencing problems with allowing a TSP's Financial Representative to save a TSP's annual financial reports in DPS. That problem seems to have been resolved.

According to SDDC and the DPS Program Office, a fix was put in place with the DPS Releases 1.6.9 & 1.6.10 which went into the Production environment Friday evening, May 2, 2014.

TSPs are mandated to input their annual financial reports no later than 150 days following the end of a TSP's fiscal year. Most TSPs follow the calendar year as their fiscal year, so most reports are due no later than May 30.

TSPs should contact their Financial Representatives immediately and proceed with their submissions before the May 30 deadline.

If any further problems with submission arise, TSPs should immediately contact the DPS Helpdesk/System Response Center (SRC) and submit a Helpdesk Ticket.


Source: IAM & SDDC
 

Change in CSS Messaging

As was discussed at the Personal Property Forum (PPF) in early April, SDDC and the DPS Program Office were planning to remove the encrypted CSS links from the email reminders that go to service members after a move. On Friday May 2, as part of the latest DPS Releases (1.6.9 & 1.6.10), the DPS Program Office took that action. Military personnel are no longer receiving the encrypted links with the email reminders they receive reminding them to fill out their Customer Satisfaction Survey.

The following is a copy of the new message that the service members will now be receiving:

Subject Line: Please complete the Survey for your shipment - Reminder: [GBL Number]

Dear [DoD Customer Full Name],

Recently, you completed a personal property move with the Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD's Defense Personal Property Program distributes business to moving companies based on the quality of the service provided during all aspects of your move. Your evaluation directly impacts which moving companies will service future DoD Customers.

Please take a moment to complete a short on-line evaluation.

Thank you for your participation.

Reminder: You may receive additional surveys if you had multiple shipments.

ATTENTION: AT NO TIME WILL THE SURVEY REQUEST PERSONAL IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION.

Please read all instructions prior to beginning.

INSTRUCTIONS to complete your survey:

1.    Log into DPS using the following web page address: https://eta.sddc.army.mil/ETASSOPortal/SSO/AppLogin.aspx?LoginType=portal&SSOAppID=DPS.
2.    After logging into DPS, select the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) tab.
3.    Select the shipment that matches the GBL number provided in this e-mail, and click on the blue survey button to begin the survey.

[GBL Number]

If you are having problems completing your survey or if you would like to complete your survey without logging into DPS, a telephone surveyor is available at the SDDC System Response Center (SRC) at 1-800-462-2176, 1-618-589-9445, or DSN: 770-7332.  OCONUS users requiring toll free access may dial 94-809-463-3376.  When you receive the second dial tone, dial the toll free number above.  You can also contact the SRC via e-mail at sddc.safb.dpshd@us.army.mil.

IAM believes this will obviously have a negative effect on the CSS response rate and we encourage all members to take a proactive role in assisting service members with the survey completion process.

Source: IAM, DPS Program Office & SDDC
 

Smith Tries for BRAC, McKeon Shoots Him Down

May 6, 2014

The ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee member is adding an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would let the Pentagon close excess military facilities.

Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said his proposal for another Base Realignment and Closure would be different than the 2005 round, which eliminated just 3 percent of the excess infrastructure cited in 2004 and wound up ballooning from an initial estimate of $21 billion to $35 billion.

"Given that the last BRAC round transformed more than it closed and has cost more and saved less than original estimates, members of Congress have justifiable reservations about giving the Department of Defense authority to conduct another round," Smith said in a statement on Tuesday.

HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., quickly shot it down. "I understand Mr. Smith's concern, and I applaud him for his courage but it's not going to be in the defense bill this year for sure," McKeon told "Breaking Defense."

Still, the last four defense secretaries have pushed for BRAC round since the last one in 2005. The Pentagon saves roughly $4 billion a year from the 2005 round, which closed 11 installations and realigned another 53 across the globe at a cost of $18 billion in construction. But because of those costs, savings don't actually kick in until 2018.

Smith said the money saved from his proposed round of BRAC depends on what facilities would be closed, but the said savings would have to be seen "within five years." His plan calls for an independent commission, public feedback and a staff large enough to review recommendations from the Defense Department on where and how the closures would occur.

Source: DefenseOne.com

 

DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes

Fuel Surcharge for Period 5/15/14 to 6/14/14

The price of fuel was $3.96 per gallon as reported on Monday, May 5, 2014, making the upcoming FSC rates for the period 5/15/14 through 6/14/14 as follows:

GBL Domestic HHG / International HHG - 12%

GSA Domestic HHG - $0.96

GSA International HHG and BAG - $0.96

Safeguarding Service Members' Personal Information

The Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) reminded the industry about the importance of safeguarding service members' personal identification information (PII). The command recently received a complaint from a member of Congress that a DOD customer discovered such information posted online after a permanent change-of-station move.

To comply with Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection guidance, SDDC advised that personal data, most notably Social Security numbers, should not be entered into the cargo description field or the marks and numbers fields within the Automated Manifest System (AMS).

May 21-22 - Defense Travel and Government Transportation Meeting
 
NDTA is bringing together members of the military, government, and industry at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 21-22. The meeting will include discussions of issues related to:  

* DOD Acquisition Policy
* Interagency Requirements
* Innovations in Transportation
* Cyber Security
* Passenger Travel
* Household Goods
* Humanitarian Aid / Disaster Relief
* Best Practices for Doing Business with the Government
 
This is a must-attend event for companies and Individuals currently doing business with the US government, or who want to increase their knowledge of potential business opportunities. Please register now at NDTA Defense Travel and Transportation Meeting.

GSA CHAMP Pre-Bid Meeting

Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us for our annual CHAMP RFO Pre-Bid meeting:

When:   August 6, 2014 at 1:00 PM EST

Where:  GSA Headquarters, 1800 F Street NW, Washington, DC

Who:    All approved CHAMP TSPs or those TSPs interested in CHAMP

We will provide additional information and an agenda prior to the meeting, but wanted to get the date and time to you so that you could make plans to attend.
As we are still working on the agenda and the possible presenters, please contact Robyn Bennett at 816-823-3644 or robyn.bennett@gsa.gov
if there is something specific you would like added to the agenda.
Thank you and hope to see you on August 6th!

Recent DTR Updates

U.S. Transportation Command (USTC) recently updated Chapter 410 of the Defense Transportation Regulations (DTR) to include language related to guidelines for PPSOs and TSPs when Mold or Mildew is found in a DOD personal property shipment.

The updated Chapter 410 language can be found at the following link:
Changes to DTR Chapters 401, the Tender of Service (Appendix B) and parts of Appendix K have also been made.

Chapter 401 -
Tender of Service -
Appendix K - Attachments K1 - K4 - IAM News Feed now available

IAM members can now receive daily industry news stories via an RSS reader. Subscribe in your browser by clicking IAM's news feed; in your browser choose "Live Bookmarks," and select where you want the RSS bookmark to live (on the bookmark toolbar on in the bookmark menus).

You may also subscribe by email and receive a daily digest with up to three news items per day, by clicking this link and following the instructions given there.

If you have questions or need assistance, contact Carl.Weaver@IAMovers.org.

Sources:  IAM, GSA, USTC, NDTA & SDDC & Daycos News http://blog.daycos.com/
 

Congress Debates Army's Balancing Act

May 01, 2014

WASHINGTON - Senators on Wednesday urged Army leaders to take another look at pending cuts to National Guard and Army reserve end strengths, and questioned plans to overhaul the service's aviation program.

Guard and reserve units are cheaper than active units and ought to be protected in a time of falling defense budgets, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.

"As the military resizes following more than a decade of war, I believe the Department of Defense should place greater reliance on the more cost-effective reserve and National Guard components, not less," she said. "We must make certain that we retain the important capabilities that the Guard represents."

But the Army in fact plans to "disproportionately reduce our active forces" in favor of the Guard and Reserve, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told legislators. By 2017, those components combined are set to surpass the active component in end strength - something that won't be the case in any of the other services, he said.

According to President Obama's proposed 2015 defense budget, active Army end strength will drop from nearly 520,000 to about 450,000 at the end of 2017. The Guard meanwhile shrinks from 355,000 to 335,000, and the Army Reserve would drop from 205,000 to 195,000.

But Odierno warned that if sequestration returns in 2016 after two years of relative reprieve thanks to a bipartisan budget deal, the active Army would draw down to 420,000. The Guard would shrink to 315,000 and the Reserve to 185,000, Odierno told senators. Such levels, he said, would prevent the Army from fulfilling the national defense strategy.

Another proposal that has drawn criticism from state and federal politicians alike is a plan to remake Army aviation.

AH-64 Apache attack helicopters would be pulled from guard squadrons and given to the active Army, which plans to get rid of hundreds of OH-58 Kiowa multiuse helicopters and transfer more than 100 UH-60 Blackhawks to the Guard.

The change, the Army says, would save some $12 billion in coming years and make Apaches more available to send quickly into battle. At the same time, Secretary of the Army John McHugh said Wednesday, it gives Guard units more ability to conduct disaster-relief and other operations in the United States.

"We know this is controversial, but we have no choice," McHugh said. "The money is gone."

But Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., cited a study suggesting the cost of a National Guard Apache squadron was only 42 percent of that of an active duty squadron.

It's because they're often at a lower state of readiness, with soldiers working civilian jobs, McHugh said. In Iraq and Afghanistan, active Apache squadrons deployed four or more times, while guard squadrons deployed an average of twice, he said.

Source: Stars & Stripes