The $6.2 billion contract with HomeSafe Alliance to improve household goods moves for military families has cleared a major roadblock, following a court ruling in the government’s favor Thursday.

The Court of Federal Claims denied the protests of Connected Global Solutions LLC, and American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group Inc., according to a statement from U.S. Transportation Command. The court document is not yet available to the public.

It’s not yet known whether the protesters will appeal the decision. But even if the process now moves forward, military families won’t see changes resulting from the contract until at least the peak moving season of 2024, as the changes will include a transition period and a “measured phase-in of domestic shipments” that will begin after the 2023 peak moving season, according to the TRANSCOM announcement. The peak moving season is generally May through September, and officials know from experience it’s not wise to implement a new system all at once during the already stressed peak season.

American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group Inc. is “disappointed” with the court’s decision, officials said in a statement to Military Times. “ARC will review the court’s decision, when it is published, and evaluate next steps.”

TRANSCOM is now negotiating a contract modification to resume the transition period with HomeSafe Alliance LLC of Houston, a joint venture of KBR Services LLC and Tier One Relocation LLC, officials said.

“Our families deserve a safe and quality moving experience and with this ruling we move closer to that goal,” said Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, commander of TRANSCOM, in the statement.

The contract would essentially outsource the management of the household goods moving process, providing complete door-to-door household goods relocation transportation and warehouse services. TRANSCOM would continue to oversee the program.

HomeSafe Alliance will pull together a network of moving companies from across the industry and coordinate military moves and warehouse services, integrating functions that are currently performed by more than 900 commercial movers. The contractor will be fully responsible for these moves, bringing accountability to the program.

“We’re excited to resume the transition towards this vital reform effort to the household goods relocation program,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Joel Safranek, director of the Defense Personal Property Management Office.

HomeSafe Alliance officials “see this as very encouraging news,” said CEO Alan Thompson. “We are pressing on, preparing to be ready to perform on the household goods contract. We will be ready.

“I truly believe, having spent 35 years in the military, this will be a huge improvement for all the members of the armed forces,” said Thompson, whose Navy career included serving as chief of the Navy Supply Corps and director of the Defense Logistics Agency. A number of other military retirees are part of HomeSafe’s leadership team, he said.

“We’re eager to get started.”

The new contract is the Defense Department’s effort to fix many of the long-standing problems plaguing service members when their household goods are moved, such as delays in pickups and deliveries, lost and broken belongings, difficulties filing claims and other issues. TRANSCOM began the effort in 2018 after a particularly brutal moving season for troops and their families. Labor shortages, shortage of truckers, and supply chain have also affected moves.

TRANSCOM awarded the contract to HomeSafe in November 2021. Connected Global and American Roll-On Roll-Off — then filed protests with the Government Accountability Office. GAO denied both protests March 3. The two unsuccessful bidders then filed protests with the Court of Federal Claims. Oral arguments were heard in August in the combined case.

“The favorable decisions from both the Government Accountability Office and the Court of Federal Claims validate the integrity of the GHC program and award,” Safranek said.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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