eGov/Mil Newsletter: September 24, 2014

September 24, 2014

In this Issue:

  • Minimum Performance Score
  • Over-Aged NTS Invoices
  • Army Chief: Fiscal 2016 Sequestration Marks ‘Breaking Point’
  • New House bill Attempts to Revive 100 Percent Container Screening
  • DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes
  • Breedlove: U.S. Reconsidering Troop Reductions in Europe
  • Hawaii to Build $266M Container Terminal
  • China Hacks US Military Transport Contractors

Minimum Performance Score

In July the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) issued the following message regarding the Minimum Performance Score (MPS):

SDDC-PP ADVISORY 14-0095

DATE:  6 JULY 2014

FROM:  SDDC-PP SCOTT AFB, IL

TO:    DOD-APPROVED PERSONAL PROPERTY TRANSPORTATION SERVICE PROVIDERS (TSP)

SUBJ:  2015 Rate Cycle Minimum Performance Score (MPS) for the Defense Personal Property Program (DP3)

1. In preparation for the 2015 rate cycle, we are posting the DP3 2015 rate cycle MPS as follows:

            a.  dHHG: 50.10

            b.  iHHG: 52.80

            c.  iUB:  57.00 

2.  TSPs that fall below the MPS during any performance period will not receive any shipment offers for that performance period.

3.  Performance Periods

            1 January – 14 May

            15 May – 31 July

            1 August – 30 September

            1 October – 31 December

4.  Please email questions on this advisory to sddc.safb.icss@us.army.mil

5. This message was approved for release by Ms. Jill Smith, Chief, Business Processes and Systems Integration Division, HQ SDDC.

The increases in the MPS for 2015 are significant.

For a Transportation Service Providers (TSP) to achieve these minimum requirements, they must meet the following average Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) score levels.

  • dHHG – 71.57
  • iHHG – 75.43
  • iUB – 81.43

This should raise a number of issues/questions that TSPs must consider as they move toward the January 1 – May 14 Performance Period:

  • What is my current Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) score?
  • The “Data Pull” period for the January 1 – May 14, 2015 Performance Period is November 1, 2013 – October 31, 2014. That means that TSPs have only about five weeks to pull their score above the MPS if they are currently below it.
  • What happens if I fall below the MPS moving into the next January 1 “rack & stack”? The July 6 message from SDDC indicates the “TSPs that fall below the MPS during any performance period will not receive any shipment offers for that performance period.”

IAM has some serious concerns about the new MPS levels. At the direction of the Executive Committee, the Association has opened dialog on the issue with SDDC. We have asked SDDC to address the following issues:

  1. SDDC needs to indicate what they used as the basis for the increase.
  2. If every question on a CSS is determined to be “Satisfactory,” the score that a TSP would earn would be a 50, which is well below what would be necessary to achieve the MPS. In light of this fact, why was the bar set at its current levels?
  3. Why is the iHHG MPS higher than the dHHG when the last set of mean CSS show the average domestic score above the iHHG? dHHG 86.21;  iHHG 82.34
  4. Why was the MPS determination made so early? It was made in July but the CSS average would change a number of times following the setting of the MPS.
  5. If a TSP is below the MPS at the start of a Performance Period but moves back above the MPS during that Performance Period, will the company be reinserted in the TDL or are they forced to sit out the entire Performance Period?
  6. Currently how many TSPs would be affected by the MPS?

Currently the Association is waiting on a response from SDDC.

This is a critical issue. IAM does not know how many TSPs face falling below the MPS but there are still five weeks to effect change. IAM encourages the membership to review its scores carefully and make every effort to avoid falling below the MPS.

Source: IAM & SDDC

Over-Aged NTS Invoices

SDDC is once again trying to tackle the issue of over-aged unpaid DOD Non-Temporary Storage (NTS) invoices. In July 2013 the Regional Storage Management Offices reached out to all of the approved NTS warehouses and asked them to submit lists of unpaid invoices. The focus was on the invoices originally billed under the old paper system and not the new electronic billing process.

But SDDC found that as they culled through the data that much of it was corrupted by invoices that had already been paid, new electronic invoices, Direct Procurement Method (DPM) invoices and duplicate invoices.

The original data call cleared up about half of the old invoices but SDDC and their service partners became bogged down in the original set of data. They believe that a fresh start was needed in order to clean up the rest of the old unpaid invoices.  

On September 11, 2014 a new data call went out to the NTS service providers. A copy of the message and the excel spreadsheet that must be used to provide the data is posted to the IAM website:

The last date for submission of the information is January 5, 2015.

Source: IAM & SDDC

Army Chief: Fiscal 2016 Sequestration Marks ‘Breaking Point’

Should sequestration resume in fiscal year 2016 as current law requires, "it will be very difficult for us to lead around the world,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said here today.

Fiscal 2016 is “a breaking point," Odierno told the Defense Writers Group. "I'm not seeing peace breaking out around the world in ’16," he added.

Everyone wants the United States to lead the way in resolving global conflicts and crises, the general said -- not necessarily supplying the preponderance of forces, but being involved to some extent. The nagging question, he said, is "Do we want to do that or not?"

In fiscal 2016, Odierno pointed out, the Army’s budget will go down $9 billion from what it is now. That would have a "significant degradation" on the force, he said, "because I cannot take people out fast enough."

The general explained that manpower, modernization and training need to be kept in balance, even as the budget shrinks. And it's currently out of balance with too many soldiers and not enough dollars to properly train and equip them, he said. A reduction of 20,000 soldiers a year is as far as he's willing to push manpower reductions without seriously degrading operational concerns and personnel considerations, Odierno told the writers.

Vast majority of budget is mandatory spending

Although the total Army budget is around $120 billion a year, the general said, the vast majority of that is mandatory spending that can't be touched, such as funds for equipment and personnel costs. About 46 percent of the budget alone is for personnel, he noted.

Sequestration takes a large percentage of a small portion of the budget that otherwise would have gone to training and equipping the force, he said, noting that the slashed budget will delay aircraft purchases, platform upgrades, command and control system and a host of other needed requirements for years to come.

The active Army is now 510,000 soldiers, down from a high of 570,000. It will be 490,000 by the end of fiscal 2015, 470,000 by fiscal 2016, 415,000 by fiscal 2017 and 420,000 by fiscal 2019, he pointed out.

Before the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant offensive and the Russian incursion into Ukraine, Odierno said, he testified to lawmakers that a reduction to 450,000 would pose a significant security risk, and 420,000 would mean the Army would be unable to execute its current strategy. Since that time, he said, the risk has increased while the ability of the Army to deploy soldiers to a number of hot spots around the world simultaneously causes him grave concern. "I'm in a box," he added.

Lawmaker concerns about manpower reductions

Over the last two days, the Army chief said, he approved letters for the Army secretary to sign, replying to about 40 lawmakers who had expressed concern that the Army will reduce the number of soldiers on installations in their home states.

"I wrote back that the reason I'm taking soldiers out of your installation and out of your state is because of sequestration, not that I want to do it,” Odierno said. That's the dilemma we're in."

The nation needs to have a security debate what it wants to do, the general told the writers. "Not a budget debate,” he added. “A security debate about what capabilities and responsibilities we want from our Army."

Summing up the current state of affairs -- sequestration and degradation of readiness, even as unforeseen problems emerge in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere -- the general remarked: "This is a lousy way to plan and do business."

Source: Defense.gov

New House Bill Attempts to Revive 100 Percent Container Screening

A new congressional effort is underway to revive screening 100 percent of containers prior to their arrival to U.S. ports.

Although Congress decreed in 2007 that all containers coming to the U.S. must be scanned by inspection and radiation detection equipment prior to being loaded onto U.S.-bound ships in foreign ports by July 1, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security has delayed that deadline.

Read the Full Story

DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes

***According to SDDC, Traffic Distribution List for the October 1 – December 31 Performance Period were due to be made visible today – September 24.

2014 SDDC Booster Club Fall Golf Tournament is scheduled to be held October 27 at 12:30 at the Stonewall Golf Club in Fairview Heights, IL. Industry rate is $100. Submit inquiries to SDDC.BC.Golf@gmail.com.

 

Changes in DOD/Government participation at the Annual Meeting

Claims Panel:

Rick Curry – Moderator

JD Reese – Air Force Claims Center

Steve Kelly – Army Claims

Virginia Eilmus – Navy Claims

Kevin Spealman – National Claims Service

Bill Rose – Willis (Recnetly Added)

 

Military & Government Affairs Panel:

Capt Aaron Stanley – SDDC

Tim Knapp – DPS Program Management Office

Charles Olden – US Department of State

Steve Fair will replace Jeff Adcock as the GSA Audits representative

Kim Chancellor – GSA, will be unable to attend. Steve Fair will present a GSA update on her behalf

 

AMSA Hours of Service Exemption Request

The American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) has made a request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to allow an exemption from the current Hours of Service (HOS) 14-hour rule when a household goods motor carrier is stuck at a residence and their 14-hours of consecutive on-duty time has expired.

On face value, the International Association of Movers fully supports the AMSA exemption request, especially as it relates to driver safety and the security of cargo. However, the exemption request, as it is described in a current Federal Register Notice dated September 9, 2014, seems to only request the exemption for AMSA members. The request begins:

FMCSA announces that the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) has applied for an exemption for its 3,700 member companies from FMCSA's regulation prohibiting operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) from driving following the 14th hour after coming on duty.

IAM confirmed with FMCSA that if granted, the AMSA exemption wouold only cover AMSA members. Therefore, IAM has submitted its own request that would cover all movers. If granted, this exemption must cover ALL FMCSA registered household goods commercial motor vehicles and not just AMSA members.

IAM requests that all of its U.S. members that are licensed FMCSA household motor carriers (MC) or freight forwarders (FF) respond positively to the AMSA request with the caveat that the exemption must apply to all FMCSA registered household goods commercial motor vehicles.

In addition, IAM has made a similar request to the FMCSA but our request will cover all FMCSA registered household goods commercial motor carriers. FMCSA has indicated a Federal Register Notice will also be issued regarding IAM’s request.

 

New DOD Email Format

In the past year most of the military services have moved to a new e-mail format for their uniformed personnel, DOD civilians and contractors.

Normally email addresses will consist of:

  • First name
  • Middle initial
  • Last name & a number (dependent upon how many people there may be with the same first name, middle initial and last name)
  • Either “mil” (uniformed military), “civ” (civilian DOD employee) or “ctr” (contractor)

All of these elements will be separated by periods and finish with a “@mail.mil” designation.

Examples – john.z.jones.civ@mail.mil or john.q.jones27.ctr@mail.mil or john.y.jones33.mil@mail.mil

 

Fuel Surcharge for Period 9/15/14 – 10/14/14

The price of fuel was $3.81 per gallon as reported on September 1, making the upcoming FSC rates for the period 9/15/14 through 10/14/14 as follows:

  • GBL Domestic HHG / International HHG– 11%
  • GSA Domestic HHG – $0.81
  • GSA International HHG and BAG – $0.81

 

Fall Personal Property Forum

SDDC provided IAM with a tentative date for the Fall Personal Property Forum (PPF). The meeting is being planned for November 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The SDDC Personal Property Directorate is waiting for final approval for the meeting from the SDDC Commanding General.

Once finalized, IAM and AMSA will schedule a Pre-PPF meeting on November 17, which will begin at 4:00 p.m.

A final decision on where the meeting will be held is still pending, however it is very likely it will once again be held at the Four Points Sheraton in Fairview Heights, IL.

 

NDTA-USTRANSCOM Fall Meeting 2014

NDTA and USTRANSCOM are once again co-sponsoring a Fall Meeting at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri, 28-30 October 2014. The purpose of the meeting is to stimulate wider interest and inquiry into technical and professional issues involving Department of Defense (DOD) transportation requirements. The meeting will provide information, training, and strategic overview for personnel of the DOD, and will also assist industry in anticipating and meeting future DOD needs.

Register and get more information on the NDTA website.

Sources:  IAM, NDTA & SDDC

Breedlove: U.S. Reconsidering Troop Reductions in Europe

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe said today that Pentagon leaders are reviewing decisions to scale down U.S. military forces in Europe in light of the changing security environment on the continent triggered by Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and Moscow’s ongoing support for rebels in the east.

“I have talked to leadership here about a function to re-address those decisions,” Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove told reporters during a Pentagon news conference, just days after NATO leaders met in Wales to discuss the alliance’s response to the crisis in Ukraine. “Because those sequester decisions were clearly made before Russia-Crimea, I see this building now moving towards a review of those decisions,” Breedlove said, referring to the automatic cuts imposed on defense spending by the budget sequester law.

In the years since the end of the Cold War, the number of U.S troops based in Europe has dropped from several hundred thousand to around 64,000 today, with the majority of those remaining based in Germany.

“I am very emphatic that we should cease further decrease of forces in Europe,” Breedlove added. “Quite frankly, the forces that are forward in Europe now are working at full speed as part of their normal rotations into Afghan and other requirements.”

At the same time, the United States has been rotating additional forces into Poland and the Baltic states to reassure allies who feel threatened by Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine. Those operations will continue, Breedlove said, until permanent adaptions called for at this month’s NATO summit are implemented.

Breedlove characterized the ceasefire between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian government as tenuous at best. And while there has been a significant reduction in the number of Russian troops crossing the border, “those forces are close enough to be quickly brought back to bear if required.” Breedlove said the Russian forces still in eastern Ukraine “are arrayed to set conditions to completely support the long-term effort of the separatists in the east and to either coerce or force the hand in Mariupol,” a frontline Ukrainian town that has been the scene of fighting between both sides in the days before the current ceasefire took effect.

Source: Defense.gov

Hawaii to Build $266M Container Terminal

Hawaii is building a new $266 million container terminal to increase capacity at its ports.

The Kapalama Container Terminal will be constructed across a channel from Sand Island in Honolulu. It will span 94 acres and is expected to boost cargo capacity by one-third, according to The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Read the Full Story

China Hacks US Military Transport Contractors

Editor’s Note: This article is an example of the reason that DOD household goods-related systems like DPS and ETA have come under greater scrutiny in the last few years. This is evidenced by the move to Digital Certificates, enhanced security requirements in ETA and the removal of the encrypted CSS link in emails sent to military transferees.

Chinese military hackers successfully breached the systems of several transportation companies that do important work for the military, according to a new Senate Armed Services Committee report released on Wednesday. 

U.S. Transportation Command, or TRANSCOM, is the outfit that moves troops and equipment. The command relies on a network of private companies large and small.

The heavily-redacted report outlines more than 20 successful intrusions on behalf of the Chinese government. “These are just those intrusions of which TRANSCOM is aware,” the report states.

Read the Full Story