eGov/Mil Newsletter: January 21, 2014
IAM Meets with SDDC Staff
On Tuesday, January 14, IAM met with the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's (SDDC) Deputy Chief of Staff for Personal Property, Captain Aaron Stanley, USN, and five members of his senior staff. Over more than two hours at SDDC's headquarters, we discussed a myriad of issues.
The impetus for the trip was the departure of John Johnson from SDDC and a need to understand what direction SDDC Personal Property would be taking regarding a number of issues critical to our membership in light of that departure.
In attendance at the meeting from SDDC were Capt Stanley, his two remaining GS-14 division chiefs - Craig McKinley (Storage Division Chief) and Jill Smith (Business Process & Systems Division Chief) - as well as his three Team Leads, John Becker (Rates), Rose Lindsey (Operations) and David Jones (Quality Assurance).
The meeting opened with the key question: "Who will replace John Johnson as the Chief of the Quality Assurance Division?" But before that could be answered, Capt Stanley quickly moved into an overview of the current personnel environment at SDDC. The SDDC Commander, MG Thomas Richardson, recently received a mandate to cut his budget/personnel by 25 percent in the next two years. That has been Capt Stanley's focus since he took over the Personal Property Directorate from Lt Col Erhardt.
The first action being taken as a result of the mandated budget reduction will be the consolidation and centralization of the four Regional Storage Management Offices (RSMO) which fall under Personal Property's control. The 38 billets associated with the RSMOs will be reduced to 12, and those remaining individuals will operate a single centralized RSMO at SDDC's Scott AFB headquarters. This entire process is on the fast track and is scheduled to be completed by December 31, 2014.
SDDC will soon be meeting with the individual services to determine a way ahead for the NTS and SIT warehouse inspection process. Obviously, with the huge reduction in RSMO staff, their ability to continue with the current inspection processes is severely compromised. SDDC will be asking the Services for help from the inspectors at individual PPOs, PPSOs and JPPSOs if the Services want to continue inspections at their current rate. There is a distinct possibility that warehouse inspection frequency will be greatly reduced or possibly eliminated at some point in the future.
That may be just the first step in a reorganization process at SDDC. All of the positions within SDDC, not just personal property, are under review. This review also includes many positions at the DPS Program Office that are considered SDDC "assets." Early retirement incentives are being offered and some positions will go away due to simple personnel losses. The Personal Property Directorate is doing an internal review to determine if their current team setup is the best way to utilize personnel and operate most efficiently. Though nothing has been determined as of yet, there is the possibility that the current organization of the Directorate could be quite different moving forward.
The Army is currently in a hiring freeze. Capt Stanley has put a package together that the SDDC Commander has signaled he will approve. The package will allow him to move forward with the hiring process for John Johnson's replacement but also forces him to hire from within the Army ONLY. No other Service-employed personnel will be eligible for the job. That means that only SDDC employees or other Army civilian employees would be eligible.
So...what does all of this mean for Re-Qualification and "Right Sizing"? Are those initiatives off the table? NO! Capt Stanley indicated it would be disingenuous to signal that Johnson's departure and the personnel issues at SDDC wouldn't push those issues off of the front burner for the time being. But those initiatives are still on his radar and probably will resurface. For now, they are on hold.
We asked the question: If the DP3 quality scores are on the rise and the DOD spend during DP3 has decreased from what we saw during TOPS, why are you looking to continue changing the program? Better quality for a lower price in a time of declining budgets and reduced personnel......why are we trying to fix something that is not broken?
The next question that we addressed, possibly more aggressively than any other topic discussed, was the need for correcting the practice of Management of TSPs in the International Market. We laid out the current landscape in the International Market and how we felt the "Oliver letter" opened the door for entities to think that the management of TSPs in international was a viable option. We said in no uncertain terms we felt this was wrong and that the Command needed to withdraw the Oliver letter and bring the International program back to the status quo immediately. We pushed for a message clarifying the Command's position to go out ASAP, especially in light of the looming rate filing. We think Capt Stanley and his staff finally understood this issue but he did say they would have to review the documentation we had provided and would make a determination as soon as they were able.
SDDC thought that they learned a great deal from the 2013 Open Season. One of the main things they learned was how much work and manpower it took to hold one. We asked if there would be another Open Season in the near future. Capt Stanley indicated they are looking at the possibility of holding a "scaled down" version of an Open Season in 2014. It would possibly be aimed at the Intrastate arena, but that is still under discussion. The impact of all of the personnel issues would play a large role in whether or not a scaled-down Open Season would come to fruition this year. They were also discussing a broader Open Season in 2015 but again that is still an open-ended question.
Dual rate filing for the Domestic Market will go forward. We raised our concerns about the system's (DPS) ability to support the new process. SDDC staff said they had built time into the process in case something unforeseen occurred during the rate filing.
We also stressed our concern over the loss of the 10 percent Peak Season linehaul "bump" in the 400NG and how that would affect Rate Reasonableness (RR). We told them to expect higher rates due to the loss of the bump and the need to compete with the ever-increasing COD and National Account markets. They may have to make adjustments to Rate Reasonableness this year if they want to have access to the capacity they will need to move their people. They indicated they were aware they would have to make RR adjustments.
We also discussed CARB in California and what affects it may have on capacity. That greatly piqued the interest of Capt Stanley and he indicated he wanted to educate himself more on the topic. On top of that we highlighted the other issues that will affect driver shortages and capacity...... CSA 2010, increased use of Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBR), Hour of Service changes, etc. The key message was to highlight how capacity may be negatively affected for DOD moving forward.
We covered a number of other smaller issues, but overall I think all of the participants thought it was an excellent meeting and opened the door for future exchanges.
Editor's Note: This item was first posted in the IAM Social Cafe on Friday, January 17. Be sure to check the Social Cafe every day for the latest in DOD/US government news.
Source: IAM & SDDC
DP3 2014 Rate Filing
The schedule for the Defense Personal Property Program (DP3) Rate is as follows:
Round 1: 02 Feb 14 (06:00 PM CST) - 07 Feb 14 (06:00 PM CST)
Round 2: 25 Feb 14 (06:00 PM CST) - 04 Mar 14 (06:00 PM CST)
Remember that a number of new factors will be in effect for this rate filing which becomes effective for shipments picking up on or after May 15, 2014:
- TSPs filing for Domestic channels must file four components: Peak Linehaul, Non-Peak Linehaul, Peak SIT, and Non-Peak Sit rates. All four components MUST be accepted by the end of Round 2 in order for the bid to be considered valid.
- This year the 10% Peak Season Linehaul baseline increase for the 400NG has been removed. The baseline for the entire year will be the Non-Peak baseline. Please take this change into consideration when formulating your rates for 2014.
- For TSPs filing in both Domestic and International Markets using the Bulk Rate File method, separate Bulk Rate Files must be filed for each market.
Other issues you must remember during the rate filing:
- During Round 2, TSPs will not be able to re-file all components of a rate channel (Peak/Non-Peak Linehaul and Peak/Non-Peak Sit) if a rate rejection is due to issues with only one of the four rate components. Example: If a TSP receives a Round 1 "Error Code 4" rate rejection for the Peak single factor rate (TSP Intl-Rate/Domestic discount is higher than acceptable high for this Channel and Code of Service), the TSP cannot change the accepted Non-Peak Single Factor Rate for the same channel/code of service in Round 2. Likewise, if a TSP receives a Round 1 "Error Code 8" for the Peak Linehaul Bid (TSP Intl-Rate/Domestic discount is lower than the acceptable low for this Channel and Code of Service), the TSP cannot change the accepted Non-Peak Linehaul, the Peak SIT, or the Non-Peak SIT bid for the same Channel/Code of Service in Round 2.
- TSPs using the Bulk Rate Filing method must re-submit all accepted bid components (Peak/Non-Peak Linehaul, Peak/Non-Peak SIT, and Peak/Non-Peak Single Factor Rates). Previously accepted bids will not be replaced/overwritten.
As a reminder, TSPs will receive an error code indicating that a specific bid component was accepted in the Round 1 rate filing period. Note: TSPs using Bidlinx or RFQ cannot re-file accepted bid components.
Source: IAM & SDDC
IAM's Request for FMCSA Bond Exemption for DOD-Only Freight Forwarders
In response to an IAM application to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requesting an exemption from FMCSA's recently mandated $75,000 bond requirement for DOD-only Freight Forwarders, a Federal Register Notice (FRN) was issued on December 26, 2013. This FRN provides notice of our application and makes a request for public comment. The more favorable comments FMCSA receives regarding our application the more difficult it will be for them to refuse to grant the exemption.
IAM is asking the membership to provide comments in support of our exemption application.
Our application is based on a few key points which we suggest should be included with any comments submissions:
- IAM has argued that the FMCSA bond is "geared toward commercial consumer protection" and therefore it is unnecessary to require freight forwarders in the DOD HHG program to obtain the $75,000 bond.
- IAM also indicated that the bond is an additional cost of doing business that is being mandated by FMCSA and that this cost will be passed on to DOD with no benefit to the DOD.
- Last, IAM argued that there is a precedent for providing an exemption for transportation service providers for the DOD. We cited the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) regulation at 46 CFR 515.4(e), exempting entities exclusively involved in the movement of Federal military and civilian household goods from certain FMC licensing and bonding requirements.
The last day of the comment period is January 27, 2014.
You may submit comments, identified by docket number FMCSA-2013-0514, by any of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
- Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
- Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
- Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.
To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods.
We urge you to submit comments to help push our request forward.
Source: IAM & SDDC
Omnibus Spending Bill Sails Through Senate; Headed for Obama's Signature
January 16, 2014
The Senate overwhelmingly passed the 12-part omnibus spending bill 72-26 on Thursday, which will fund the government through the end of September. The $1.1 trillion package sailed through the Senate and heads next to President Obama's desk for his signature.
The bill, crafted by Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and her House counterpart Harold Rogers, R-Ky., allocates $1.012 trillion in discretionary funding to various departments and agencies, while also providing overseas contingency funding. Significantly, the bill prevents another government shutdown, slated for midnight on Saturday.
The omnibus faced criticism from outside conservative groups for failing to further reduce federal spending and for a rushed process. Congress passed the bill on Thursday night, fewer than 72 hours after the 1,582-page legislation was initially released to members.
But within the halls of Congress, complaints about the bill were scarce and often minor. Following last October's fiscal crisis, the appetite for another federal shutdown was meager, and arguments over major policy items that could have derailed the omnibus--including over the Affordable Care Act and abortion--were left for another day.
It also provides a partial fix for the controversial cuts to military pensions that were included in the December budget agreement. The omnibus eliminates those cuts for both disabled veterans and for recipients of survivor's benefits.
Now that the bill has passed both chambers, affected departments and agencies can begin the work of subtracting from their new spending figures the amount of funds that they have already used up since the fiscal year began last October. The omnibus affects funding for everything from federal food safety inspections to NASA to modernizing Navy ships.
The Defense Department faces the most difficult task, having lost billions of dollars in fiscal 2014 from its 2013 allocation, though the omnibus does provide more cash for the department than it would have had under sequestration.
DOD & Government Personal Property News & Notes
Fuel Surcharge for Period 1/15/14 to 2/14/14
The price of fuel was $3.91 per gallon as reported on Monday, January 6, 2014 making the upcoming FSC rates for the period 1/15/14 through 2/14/14 as follows:
GBL Domestic HHG / International HHG & UB - 11%
GSA Domestic HHG - $1.41
GSA International HHG and BAG - $1.41
SDDC "What's New"
- 2014 DPS Rate Filing Overview - Posted 1/14/2014
- 2014 DPS International Channel Control Listing - Posted 1/10/14
Two items from the January SDDC New "U" Can Use newsletter
Guidance for Missing or Lost Weight Tickets
If a Transportation Service Provider is unable to provide weight tickets, the responsible Personal Property Shipping Office may authorize use of the constructive weight of 7 pounds per cubic foot OR the actual weight listed in DPS, whichever is lower. The cubed weight is based on the inventory completed at origin and signed by the TSP and customer. TSPs must use the weight estimator link provided on the www.move.mil website (http://www.move.mil/dod/before_you_begin/weight_allowance.cfm) to obtain cubed weight for specific furniture items. For information on applying constructive weights for professional books, papers, and equipment, refer to DTR IV Chapter 402 F8b(2), page IV-402-30.
Shipments released from Non-Temporary Storage require the shipment to be weighed and new weight tickets obtained. In the event the new weight tickets are lost, the NTS lot weight will be used. Releasing PPSOs will verify the actual lot weight.
Notes for these shipment categories must be recorded in the "DPS General Remarks" area. TSPs should reference the lost weight tickets and TSP actions taken so that General Service Administration post-audit processes can be followed.
Missing or lost weight tickets should be rare occurrences. TSPs showing a pattern of making requests to approve use of constructive or actual weights listed in DPS may be subject to punitive action.
Email Format Change
As a reminder, all users emailing our Personal Property organizational email boxes must ensure they are using the "mail.mil" email addresses. The us.army.mil email addresses will not indefinitely continue to be forwarded to the mail.mil addresses. We do not have a defined date, but AKO may be terminating these email addresses in the very near future.
Source: IAM, SDDC & Daycos News - http://blog.daycos.com
SDDC Contracting Office Disestablished
**Editor's Note: The following is an example of the ongoing personnel changes at SDDC that are discussed in the first item in this edition of the eGov newsletter.
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- In an effort to streamline and provide increased oversight and management of all Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command contract requirements, the SDDC Contracting Office will be disestablished as of Sept. 30, 2014. Additionally, the command's delegated procurement authority will also be removed.
Prior to its disestablishment, the SDDC Contracting Office handled Stevedoring and Related Terminal Services and SDDC information technology contracts within the Continental United States, as well as CONUS SDDC brigade and battalion support for commodities and services. According to SDDC Contracting Office officials, during Fiscal 2013 the office managed more than $100 million in contract actions and was responsible for the SDDC Government Purchase Card program at an additional estimated $4 million in annual transactions.
Carla Diamond, SDDC Contracts Division chief, said the myriad work previously accomplished by the SDDC Contracting Office is being realigned to other organizations within and outside of the command. While acquisition management responsibilities are being assigned to SDDC's G9 Strategic Business directorate, contracting responsibilities will be handled by the U.S. TRANSCOM Acquisition Office at Scott Air Force Base, and U.S. Army Contracting Command at Rock Island, Ill.
According to the command's top civilian leader, the disestablishment of the SDDC Contracting Office is "another evolution taking SDDC's residual procurement and contracting requirements and distributing those to U.S. TRANSCOM and ACC, where they can be aggregated with other requirements to deliver improved transportation or distribution services to our customers."
William Budden, SDDC's deputy to the commander, added: "Beyond simple contracting efficiency, this effort will elevate the development of customer-driven needs into requirement statements within SDDC."
In support of this effort, Budden said SDDC's G9 directorate is "completely retooling" to lead and assist in the requirements planning for the command's contracting initiatives. He said G9 will now be responsible for the development of statements of objectives, statements of work, performance work statements, business case analyses, cost benefit analysis, and other planning and analyses needed during the pre- and post-award stages of long-term contracting. He said the directorate will also perform analysis using key metrics to support the development of strategic sourcing recommendations and strategic sourcing market baskets, which will allow SDDC to focus on requirements, while TCAQ and ACC focus on best contracting practices.
THE PERSONAL SIDE
In addition to consolidating and realigning the SDDC procurement and contracting workload, the disestablishment of the SDDC Contracting Office eliminates the command's delegated procurement authority and, therefore, eliminates the need for 1102-series contracting specialists within SDDC.
According to Diamond, as a critical Army job series, an 1102 specialist is generally charged with acquiring utilities, janitorial services, hardware and software needs, and commodities and services that can only be accomplished within a contracting structure. She said that functionality will now be fulfilled by contracting specialists at TCAQ and ACC.
Although a few SDDC AQ personnel were management reassigned to other offices within SDDC headquarters, Diamond said a majority of their employees were placed in priority placement status. As of Jan. 1, she said almost all AQ employees had found new employment with other agencies on Scott Air Force Base and around Scott AFB. Budden added he is hopeful the remaining AQ employees will find employment by the end of this fiscal year.
In any case, Diamond said SDDC AQ employees can move on with their heads held high.
"The SDDC AQ office has saved millions of dollars for this command and it has not had a single protest action," she said. "That is a true testament to the command's highly skilled and trained AQ personnel."
"Each of our employees knows the critical role they play in any acquisition," added Larry Cooper, chief, SDDC Contracting Office. "We work tirelessly and spend months and years going through certifications so we can contract on behalf of the government with the best interest of the taxpayer. We know the work we do is an integral part of any command and we remind our employees of that almost daily."
During the early stages of AQ disestablishment actions, Diamond said it was important to remind employees that the decision to disestablish the office was not based on their performance.
"The command has only a limited number of resources; sequestration has imposed monstrous cuts to programs and personnel; and there are other offices that can provide the services we provide with little or no cost to SDDC, which will allow our G9 folks to concentrate on developing solid contract requirements," Diamond explained. "In a situation like this, as a supervisor, you have to take the time to remind your employees of the contributions they make to the mission, listen to their problems, and continue to reassure them that this is not a personal decision, but a decision based on necessity and logic. Overall, patience and concern for each other goes a long way."
According to Cooper, the command's G1 Personnel directorate has been extremely helpful during the transition. "They have made time for us, explained every step, and opened up their offices to employees to ensure our concerns have been addressed," he said. "Their knowledge and personal interest has made everyone's life much less traumatic."
Cooper added that the transition has progressed with only a few issues. He added, "As AQ continues to step back and G9 becomes the 'go-to source' for contracting actions, there may be a few growing pains, but patience and persistence should prevail."
"We were proud to be contributing members to the SDDC team," added Diamond. "We approached our day as professionals and worked diligently to meet mission needs within fiscal and legal parameters. Leaving SDDC is like leaving home and our SDDC family will be missed."