eGov/Mil Newsletter: May 5, 2016
In this Issue:
- DPS Problems Follow-up
- SDDC - Secretary of State Requirements Follow-up
- Peak Season Solicitation Clarifications
- Whistleblowers Allege Fraud in Largest Outsourced Military Transportation Contract in US History
- House Defense Bill Would Fund 3,000 Additional Marines
- Billing for Alcohol Customs Clearance Charges
- DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes
- Thornberry Prepared to Oppose Carter on Defense Budget
In the last edition of this newsletter we indicated that IAM planned to open a dialog with the highest levels of U.S. Transportation Command and SDDC to ensure that senior leadership has visibility on this issue. That in fact did happen.
On April 21, IAM communicated by letter with Lt. Gen. Stephen Lyons, Deputy Commander U.S. Transportation Command (USTC), via formal letter regarding IAM’s concerns about the Defense Personal Property System (DPS).
The letter focused on a number of areas:
- The recent month-long issues with stability and connectivity to DPS for the industry.
- The poor communication between SDDC/DPS Program Office with industry regarding what is contained in new releases and during DPS outages.
- The need for a written contingency plan when DPS is unavailable.
- The belief that industry “web bots” are not to blame for any of the DPS outages. Outages typically follow new DPS releases. We feel this indicates that outages are tied to flawed programming and the insufficient testing of releases before they are introduced into the system. IAM believes that industry should be directly involved in the testing process, particularly when new releases contain functionality that will be used by the industry.
- DPS development is almost at a standstill. We have seen very little improvement to DPS functionality in the last two to three years. Planned system upgrades continue to be delayed. DPS needs to start moving again toward its planned Full Operational Capability (FOC).
LTG Lyons responded to IAM’s letter on May 25. In that response he asked for a teleconference with IAM leadership. That call was held on May 2. For almost a full hour IAM staff discussed our DPS concerns, one on one with LTG Lyons, regarding DPS and a wide variety of other issues raised by LTG Lyons related to the current state of the industry, industry capacity, possible program changes we thought should be brought forward and what the future should look like for the DOD personal property program.
The DPS issues that we felt really resonated with the General were:
- Communication issues between the DPS Program Office, SDDC and the industry
- Allowing industry to assist with testing
- Need for a written contingency plan for DPS outages
- The fragmentation between the system and the personal property program and the need for a single entity to oversee and guide both.
What positives will eventually come from this promising conversation, only time will tell. However, IAM believes that at the very least a door was opened to better lines of communication between industry and the current USTC leadership.
Source: IAM, SDDC, DPS PMO
The May 1 deadline for compliance with the recently issued Surface Deployment and distribution Command (SDDC) “Secretary of State Requirements” has now come and gone.
Discussions with SDDC staff have indicated that “32 TSP's have requested and been granted an extension and no punitive actions have been taken to date.”
SDDC also pointed out that if a company feels that they still may not be in compliance with these requirements or has any questions, they should immediately contact SDDC before they start their review, which should begin on or about May 16.
The questions that remain regarding the requirement surround situations in which a TSP is incorporated in one state but physically located in another. SDDC has indicated they are looking at where TSPs are physically located and will follow the rules governing that particular state to determine if a TSP is in compliance.
For those that have issues/questions regarding this requirement contact SDDC by phone or email as soon as possible: email@example.com or contact 618-220-5775 or 618-220-6789.
Source: IAM, SDDC
Industry continues to wait for final updates to the changes proposed for both the IT-16 Solicitation and 2016 400NG tariff.
IAM has been lobbying SDDC for some significant alterations to the proposed changes involving the reweigh process and crating, among other things.
Even though the proposed changes become effective May 15, SDDC is still taking input and has not come to final decisions on the exact wording for the 2016 solicitations.
The expectation is that SDDC will issue final documents early next week.
Source: IAM, SDDC
Whistleblowers Allege Fraud in Largest Outsourced Military Transportation Contract in US History
Two whistleblowers, represented by Hirst Law Group, P.C., in Davis, California, brought fraud allegations against shippers of military freight and helped the Government recover $13 million in a False Claims Act settlement announced today. The case involved a nationwide contract described by Transport Topics Newspaper as "the largest logistics outsourcing in history."
House Defense Bill Would Fund 3,000 Additional Marines
The U.S. Marine Corps could enjoy its first plus-up of troops in several years if a provision in the new defense budget bill survives passage. The draft version of the fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act prepared by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry would provide funding for 3,000 more troops than were asked for in the president's budget request.
Billing for Alcohol Customs Clearance Charges
Last fall, SDDC released Change 2 to the 2015 International tariff (IT-15) that was effective on 11/17/15. That update provided further guidance surrounding the TSP’s ability to invoice for customs charges related to the clearance of alcohol contained in member’s household good shipments. That same guidance was included in the 2016 International tariff (IT-16) that goes into effect on May 15, 2016. The guidance specifically allows the TSP to be reimbursed for “fees that are uniquely associated to the presence of alcohol and supported by a third party invoice.”
SDDC Helpdesk /System Response Center (SRC) Upgrades Ticketing System
Information about the new system directly from SDDC: As of Monday 2 May, the SRC upgraded their ticketing system to a cloud-based application called Service Now. Emails that are received by customer will refer to an “incident” instead of a ticket. If there are numerous incidents about the same issue, a “problem” will be created associating all of the same incidents to this problem. This will make it easier on all concerned with ticket escalation and resolving numerous incidents under the same problem.
SDDC will soon provide industry more detailed messaging on their new system.
Fort Drumm NYS Route 26 Construction Notice
From the Department of the Army: Due to construction on Route 26 beginning 9 May 2016, 45th Gate and Nash/26 Gate will be open from 0530-1800, Monday-Friday except Federal Holidays; personnel with DOD ID Cards and approved passes may utilize 45th and Nash/26 Gates. Tactical and Commercial vehicles are not authorized to use the 45th and Nash/26 Gates. All Commercial Traffic will utilize Cerjan Gate beginning 090530MAY16 and Tactical vehicles will continue to use Gas Alley Gate. The Fort Drum Community is advised to avoid use of Gas Alley Gate during the construction period. All organizations and agencies must ensure the widest dissemination of this message and notify their Commercial Vendors to use the Cerjan Gate. All commercial trucks must utilize Cerjan Gate off Route 11.
Regionalization Update from the Army
Fort Hood will remain separate a separate entity as Regionalization moves forward. It will become an Army CPPSO (Consolidated Personal Property Shipping Office) and will take over the back office function for Fort Bliss, TX which will convert to a PPPO.
The PPSO conversion process just started and will not become effective in DPS or TOPS (DPM/NTS) until a target date of 1 April 2017.
Fuel Surcharge for Period 5/15/16 to 6/14/16
The price of fuel was $2.27 per gallon as reported on Monday, May 2, 2016 making the upcoming FSC rates for the period 5/15/16 through 6/14/16 as follows:
GBL Domestic HHG / International HHG – 0%
GSA Domestic HHG – $0.00
GSA International HHG and BAG – $0.00
There is no fuel surcharge applicable for the specified period.
Sources: IAM, & Daycos
Thornberry Prepared to Oppose Carter on Defense Budget
The chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee said Monday he is willing to defy Defense Secretary Ash Carter if it means passing his version of the 2017 defense budget. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, shot back at the Pentagon's top civilian after Carter strongly objected to the House committee's plan to pull $18 billion out of Islamic State war funding to instead pay for more troops, equipment and training.