Delivering our best to military families: A call for Congressional evaluation of military GHC program

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In the heart of a neighborhood stands a cozy house where the walls have echoed with laughter, tears and the comforting hum of a tight-knit family. They are no ordinary family, however. They are bound by duty, navigating the currents of military life with resilience and grace.

Their children were born into a world of constant change. Home was not defined by four walls but by the love of America and unity of their family. Every few years, their belongings are packed into cardboard boxes and taken away by strangers, as they bid farewell to familiar faces and move to a new post.  

A little girl, with her thread-worn bunny clasped to her chest, was too young to remember the last move. She sits on the front steps of their house, watching all of her most prized possessions and memories being loaded on a truck. Her big brother has been through this before. She'll make friends at her new school, he assures her. And her bunny's stuffed friends will make their way back to her. Their new home will soon be filled again with the comfort of her past and the promise of an exciting future.  

For the more than 300,000 military families who relocate each year to new mission postings throughout the country and the world, the moving process can add layers of stress to an already challenging lifestyle. The professional moving industry is committed to supporting our troops and making sure those moves are as smooth as possible.

In Florida, we proudly welcome and bid a fond farewell to many servicemen and women. The Florida Trucking Association, which represents moving companies integral to this process, is dedicated to ensuring that our military families are valued and treated with the respect they have earned and command.

As President and CEO of the association, I am compelled to raise industry concerns about the Department of Defense’s new Global Household Goods Contract (GHC) Program, which places a single private consortium in charge of coordinating all military relocations. The program’s core capability -- having enough trucks, drivers and crew to meet DOD’s requirements -- is challenged and risks service delays and reductions in the quality of service provided to military families. Movers, drivers, and others are concerned about the impact on military families as increased questions about the program’s feasibility surface.

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This latest attempt by DOD to address challenges related to moving is structured in a way that creates new problems, and it's unclear whether it will even solve the old ones. A 2018 RAND study determined that moving experiences play a major role in “influencing future retention decisions and affecting military readiness and resilience,” so high-quality moving services for active-duty military families are critical. We need to support military readiness and family stability, not undermine it. 

[Related: Military HHG haulers take the fight to D.C. over move to single-source GHC contract]

As questions surrounding the feasibility of the program pile up, it is imperative that Congress intervenes to give this initiative the appropriate scrutiny it demands -- and that military families and taxpayers deserve. We call on our Congressional leaders to insist on a strategic pause of GHC program implementation while a comprehensive evaluation of its feasibility is conducted by the Government Accountability Office.

If the GHC model fails as currently structured, it would disrupt the lives of military families as they relocate to new towns, schools, and communities -- and leave them without a backup option, undermining the broader objectives of military readiness and retention. With potentially billions of taxpayer dollars and hundreds of thousands of military moves at stake, Congress must be proactive in its evaluation of this important program.  

We owe the men and women who serve our country, and the families who support them, nothing less. 

[Related: Getting access to sometimes lucrative military freight]

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