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The Army's Broken Personal Property Program

 

 

 
 
   
   
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The Army Claims Personal Property Program Is Not Working

Anyone who has spent any time in the military realizes that personal property tends to get damaged or go missing with frequent Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves. Lately, Soldiers and Family members have become increasingly frustrated—and many are not afraid to speak up, even to Army senior leadership. In October 2018, then-Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, then-Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, and then-Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey were peppered with complaints about the gross negligence of moving companies.1 A recent Time Magazine article highlighted the broken process causing one family over $26,000 of property damage.2 Additionally, a petition demanding military moving companies be held accountable has garnered over 103,000 signatures.3

In theory, Soldiers whose property is lost or damaged are not without a remedy. In fact, they have two: filing a claim directly with the Transportation Service Provider (TSP) under the Full Replacement Value Law (FRVL) or filing a claim with the U.S. Army Claims Service (USARCS) Center for Personnel Claims Support (CPCS) under the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act (PCA).4 While there are numerous differences in the processes, the most important distinction is that PCA claims are paid at an often greatly-depreciated value, while FRVL claims are supposed to be paid at full replacement value.5 Not surprisingly, the great majority of Soldiers file with a TSP under the FRVL.6 Soldiers unhappy with a TSP’s adjudication can subsequently transfer their claim to the CPCS under the PCA.7 In the end, the Army can pay a depreciated amount, recoup the full replacement value from the TSP, and reimburse the Soldier the difference.8 However, this process can be slow and frustrating. The Army personal property program should be modified to allow Soldiers a right to file a direct appeal of the TSP’s adjudication with Army claims personnel during the FRVL claim.9 This process would save the Army time and money, improve Soldier satisfaction, and eliminate most claims under the PCA and the resulting recoupment process.

Because of the complex nature of filing a claim and low likelihood of receiving full replacement value, many Soldiers opt out of the lengthy and cumbersome process entirely, going unreimbursed for damages.10 Perhaps more troubling is that junior enlisted Soldiers—who are normally less able to absorb the financial loss associated with damaged or missing property—are significantly less satisfied with the FRVL claims process than senior enlisted personnel, officers, and Civilians, in that order.11 Two purposes of the Army personal property program are to “maintain morale” and “prevent financial hardship.”12 Unfortunately, when sixty percent of Soldiers feel they are not adequately reimbursed, those goals are not being met.13

The Army Personal Property Program in Practice

The best way to understand the Army personal property program is as two independent, sequential processes. The FRVL was designed to fully reimburse Soldiers by holding TSPs directly responsible for damages.14 A typical claimant starts the process by filing a claim with the TSP.15 In fact, over ninety percent of claims are handled by the TSP.16 However, that does not necessarily mean ninety percent of Soldiers are satisfied with the TSP’s handling of their claim. Unfortunately, many Soldiers unsatisfied with a TSP’s denial or unsatisfactory offer do not file a second claim under the PCA.17 The reasons Soldiers do not file a second claim include frustration with the process, little hope for better results, or worse, they do not realize there is another process available.18

When willing to file a claim, a Soldier normally initiates the TSP claims process by filing a notification of loss or damage (NOLD).19 This can be done concurrently as the goods are delivered, or up to seventy-five days later; absent extraordinary circumstances, the TSP can deny the claim entirely if the Soldier misses the deadline.20 Once a TSP receives an NOLD, the Soldier must file a claim within nine months of delivery to remain eligible for full replacement value.21 If a Soldier files a claim between nine months and two years from the date of delivery, the TSP is liable for the depreciated value of the property instead of the full replacement value.22 Notifications of loss or damage and claims are normally filed on the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) website.23

If a claim has not been fully satisfied by the TSP within thirty days, the Soldier can transfer their claim to the CPCS for adjudication under the PCA.24 The CPCS will then adjudicate the claim, provided it is received within two years of the shipment’s delivery.25 Under the PCA, the CPCS is only authorized to pay depreciated value for the property, instead of the full replacement value Soldiers are supposed to receive from the TSP.26 Regrettably, property value significantly depreciates each year—up to seventy-five percent—with rates varying based on the property’s age and type.27 After paying a claim, the Army can pursue an affirmative claim against the TSP under the Federal Claims Collection Act within four years, in theory recovering the full replacement value.28 The TSP’s liability is based upon the FRVL as implemented through the Business Rules.29

Under the Business Rules, TSPs have sixty days to pay, deny, or make a counteroffer on the recovery claim.30 If the Army declines the counteroffer and the TSP fails to pay, the Army can withhold the amount from funds the government owes the TSP.31 If the TSP continues to dispute the amount of liability, it can file an appeal with the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) or file suit in federal court.32 If the Army successfully recovers funds from the TSP, it pays the Soldier the difference between the depreciated amount initially paid by the CPCS and the amount recovered from the TSP.33 In effect, the Army is examining the claim the TSP received, evaluating it impartially, and determining whether or not the TSP did it correctly. If the TSP adjudicated the claim improperly, the Army requires the TSP to pay the correct amount through a recovery action.34 Unfortunately, this entire process can take several years.35

Soldiers who file initially with the CPCS instead of the TSP follow a similar process, except they are not eligible for full replacement value.36 The Army will still pursue a recovery action against the TSP for the depreciated value, and nothing else will be remitted to the Soldier.37

Soldiers Are Unsatisfied with the Full Replacement Value Claims Process

Many Soldiers are unhappy with the FRVL claims process.38 In 2010, USARCS commissioned a survey to gather information relating to Soldier satisfaction.39 Despite its moniker, only forty percent of those surveyed felt they received full replacement value.40 Only half were satisfied with the FRVL claims process,41 and about half felt the PCA claims process worked better.42

Those statistics are not surprising, given the cumbersome, time-consuming, and frustrating process of filing an FRVL claim.43 Of those who suffered damage but had not filed a claim, sixty percent either did not know how to file a claim through the DPS claims website or thought the filing process was too difficult or time-consuming.44 The most troubling observation was that junior enlisted respondents were overwhelmingly unsatisfied with the FRVL claims process.45 Forty-two percent of senior enlisted respondents were satisfied, and less than sixty percent of officers and Civilian employees were satisfied.46 The process is complicated by the DPS website not being user-friendly or intuitive.47 Another, perhaps more significant barrier for Soldiers is the monetary incentive for TSPs to deny or minimize liability.

Transportation Service Providers Are Not Playing by the Rules

The adjudication authority is the most significant difference between the FRVL and PCA claims processes. Of note, PCA claims are adjudicated by Army claims personnel, while FRVL claims are adjudicated by claims adjusters employed by the TSP responsible for the shipment. Each claim a TSP pays reduces or even eliminates the profits made on that shipment.48

The TSP’s direct control over the entire shipment process further aggravates this potential for bias. The DPS system empowers the TSP to manage PCS moves from pick-up through claims settlement, and the only likely interaction a Soldier has during an entire moving process will be with the TSP’s agents.49 This has the practical effect of eliminating Army claims oversight for most PCS shipments.50 The TSP normally hires the moving company, which in turn hires the packers and drivers.51 The packers or drivers then prepare the inventory, including notes on the condition of the Soldier’s property.52 On occasion, TSP agents exaggerate pre-existing damage or indicate property is non-functioning.53 When not discovered and remedied by the Soldier at origin, this practice allows TSPs to deny a subsequent claim based upon “pre-existing damage.”54

Even though most TSPs and their agents do not use these practices, the minimal and removed oversight of the DPS system incentivizes them to do so. Even without a TSP instructing its agents to exaggerate pre-existing damage or otherwise minimize liability, agents have an inherent duty of loyalty to the carrier that hired them, as well as a self-interest to secure future employment. The agent’s actions and the inventory will be reviewed by the TSP, who will then adjudicate and pay or deny the claim using their own funds.55 While the PCA empowers and favors the Soldier, the current FRVL process empowers and favors the TSP.56 Consequently, it is not surprising that only forty percent of Soldiers would recommend their TSP to others.57 While the system has an oversight mechanism, it is simply too complicated and time-consuming for many Soldiers to utilize; as a result, an incalculable amount of damages goes unreimbursed.58

Even when TSPs pay claims, a major frustration is that they generally only pay about half the amount claimed.59 As an illustration of TSP underpayment, in the relatively rare instance when a Soldier files a PCA claim, the CPCS pays an average of about $1,500 per claim.60 Stated in other terms, USARCS usually recovers over $1.5 million wrongfully or mistakenly withheld by TSPs each year.61

Regrettably, USARCS only recovers on claims filed with the CPCS under the PCA.62 About forty thousand Army claims are filed each year with TSPs, but only about three percent of those are transferred under the PCA.63 While that number may sound reassuring, it does not indicate that the TSPs adjudicate ninety-seven percent of claims fairly; Soldiers are often just frustrated with the process or ignorant of their options.64 The 2010 USARCS Survey found that seventy-eight percent of Soldiers unsatisfied with a TSP’s partial payment did not subsequently file under the PCA, thereby eliminating Army oversight.65 While it is impossible to determine exactly how much damage goes unreimbursed, TSPs underpay Soldiers’ claimed amounts by an average of over $450 million a year.66 The Army needs a better way to more actively monitor FRVL claims and simultaneously encourage Soldiers to use the process.

Many Soldiers Do Not Fully Utilize the Army Personal Property Program

The claims process can be tedious and frustrating, and many Soldiers seem to perform a cost-benefit analysis before proceeding.67 Simply filing a claim can take hours or even days, depending on several factors, including: the number of items damaged or missing; the photographic, video, and documentary evidence available; the Soldier’s computer access, skill, and familiarity with the DPS claims website; and any other work or family obligations.68 There can often be little perceived benefit to filing a claim, considering the cumbersome process, relatively high rate of denials, and low rate of reimbursement.

This cost-benefit analysis could explain why so very few Soldiers navigate the entire claims process, many giving up at each level. In the end, relatively few who file a claim actually receive payment from a TSP.69 Many Soldiers’ property is lost or damaged during their move, but only a small portion of those provide timely notice.70 Of those who provide notice, even fewer actually file a claim with the TSP.71 For those who actually file a claim, less than forty percent receive satisfactory reimbursement from the TSP.72 Most importantly, despite the ability to file a subsequent PCA claim to receive fair payment, only about one-fifth of those not satisfied actually do so.73 Soldiers fall out of the process at each level, and very few who suffer loss or damage navigate the entire process to receive satisfactory reimbursement.74

In theory, the FRVL process should minimize the burden on the Army by shifting the workload from the Army to the TSPs. It certainly does, and the great majority of claims are never filed under the PCA; therefore, the Army has no real oversight on those claims.75 In the rare instance when a Soldier does transfer a claim to the CPCS after a TSP denial or unsatisfactory offer, the result is an excessive amount of time and a substantial duplication of work.76 While the FRVL claims process has been successful at minimizing the Army workload, Soldiers choosing to go unreimbursed for damages is likely a contributing factor.77 Although this makes the Army personal property program manageable, the FRVL is not functioning as Congress intended. Solutions are needed to ensure Soldiers are properly reimbursed.

The Solution: A Direct Appeal

The Army should establish a process for a direct appeal to the CPCS immediately following a TSP’s adjudication—prior to any claim under the PCA. Ideally, all TSPs would adjudicate each claim fairly, based on the evidence with minimal Army oversight; however, in practice that has proven not to be the case.78 Easier and streamlined access to Army oversight is necessary to ensure TSPs pay full replacement value.

A direct appeal would simplify the Army personal property program and greatly reduce the time required to settle claims. The current process is terribly inefficient; with a direct appeal, the number of steps required to navigate the claims process would be cut in half—reducing the length of time from multiple years to about three months.79 Instead of filing an entirely new claim under separate statutory authority, if a Soldier did not agree with the TSP’s denial, the amount offered, or if a TSP failed to respond within thirty days, the Soldier would contact the CPCS by email or telephone. The CPCS personnel could then impartially evaluate the claim, weigh the evidence, and make determinations as to the amount of the TSP’s liability, if any.80

Allowing a direct appeal immediately following the TSP’s initial adjudication would enable Army claims personnel to quickly evaluate the claim almost concurrently with the TSP’s adjudication. The CPCS could either request a copy of the claim or access the DPS claims website directly, and it would assess liability using the existing PCA claim adjudication guidelines, except for mandatory depreciation. If the CPCS assesses liability, it should notify the TSP and provide any additional documentary evidence considered. Adapting the current rules, the TSP would have sixty days to pay the claim, deny the claim, or make a settlement offer.81 If no agreement is reached, the Army would collect the funds by administrative offset from amounts due the TSP.82 If the TSP still disputes liability, it would utilize existing procedures to file a DOHA appeal or a suit in federal court.83

With a direct appeal, the shorter lapse of time between initial TSP adjudication and an ultimate USARCS liability determination would streamline the process to fully reimburse the Soldier quickly. Each claim satisfactorily paid by the TSP is one less claim filed under the PCA, sent to recovery, and then potentially disputed in DOHA or in federal court. Quicker access to impartial Army claims personnel would likely increase the number of Soldiers willing to file a claim. Soldiers would also be more likely to contact the CPCS because no duplication of effort is necessary with a direct appeal; CPCS personnel would use the claim data and substantiation already entered in the DPS claims website. The only thing required of a Soldier would be to make a phone call or send an email.

Most importantly, a direct appeal could be implemented without need for statutory or Army regulatory change. United States Transportation Command would simply have to amend the Business Rules, which could take effect almost immediately.84 Under the FRVL, TSPs are already liable for the full replacement value of lost or damaged items, so this change would not expose them to greater financial liability. The current system ends in the same way; a direct appeal just truncates the process, saving time and resources. A direct appeal would make it easier for and incentivize Soldiers to participate, thereby receiving full reimbursement for their losses. While there are existing systems to accomplish the same goal, they are too inefficient, difficult, and time-consuming for many Soldiers to use.85 A direct appeal would provide the Army a faster, more convenient way to hold TSPs accountable for their mandated liability under federal law.86 Furthermore, the availability of an easier review process could encourage TSPs to be fairer and more transparent in their adjudication.

Conclusion

The Army personal property program is eroding morale and causing financial hardship effectively for many Soldiers.87 Congress mandated that TSPs be held liable for the full replacement value resulting from the loss or damage of property in their care.88 In reality, TSPs are not being held fully accountable, and Soldiers are bearing the financial burden.89 While the current process affords some oversight, that oversight only works when Soldiers navigate the entire cumbersome process, which most Soldiers are unable or unwilling to do.90 As a result, many TSPs escape full financial liability for damages incurred during moves.91 Even when it works properly, the current design is slow, frustrating, and resource-intensive.92

A direct appeal would streamline the process and can be implemented by modifying the Business Rules. The TSPs should be encouraged that a direct appeal would not result in any increased liability, it would only improve the Army’s ability to hold them accountable for their existing statutory obligation. Contrary to congressional intent, Soldiers and their Families do not receive full replacement value.93 The Army must act to restore their faith in the program. TAL

 


MAJ Juge is presently assigned as the Chief, National Security Law, United States Army South, Joint Base San Antonio—Fort Sam Houston, Texas.



Notes

1. See Otto Kreisher, Family Members Voice Concerns with Army Leadership, Association of the United States Army (Oct. 9, 2018), https://www.ausa.org/news/family-members-voice-concerns-army-leadership.

2. See Abby Vesoulis, The Military Moves Hundreds of Thousands of Families Each Summer. Many of Them Don’t Go Well, Time (Oct. 22, 2018), http://time.com/5424172/military-family-moves/.

3. See Karen Jowers, After brutal PCS season, thousands sign petition to hold moving companies accountable for loss, damage, MilitaryTimes (Aug. 28, 2018), https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2018/08/28/after-brutal-pcs-season-thousands-sign-petition-to-hold-moving-companies-accountable-for-loss-damage/.

4. See generally U.S. Transportation Command, Defense Personal Property Program Claims and Liability Business Rules § 2.1 (Dec. 12, 2017) [hereinafter Business Rules].

5. See discussion infra The Army Personal Property Program in Practice.

6. Id.

7. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.1.2.

8. Id. § 2.9.2.

9. As used in this article, “Army personal property program” refers to the processes and claims under the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act (PCA) and the Full Replacement Value Law (FRVL), as well as their interplay as Soldiers seek reimbursement for lost or damaged property incident to service. The term “direct appeal” refers to the proposed process whereby a Soldier unhappy with a Transportation Service Provider’s (TSP) adjudication could file an appeal of the TSP’s decision directly with Army claims personnel, still operating under the FRVL, prior to any claim under the PCA.

10. See U.S. Army Claims Service, Claims Service Full Replacement Value Survey (Nov. 2010) (on file with author) (e-mail surveying approximately 21,603 Soldiers and Civilians with Government-sponsored moves between 1 May 2008 through 30 September 2009, of which 1,598 responses were anonymous) [hereinafter FRV Survey].

11. Id.

12. U.S. Dep’t of Army, Reg. 27-20, Claims para. 11-10(a) (8 Feb. 2008) [hereinafter AR 27-20].

13. FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 40. According to the survey, only forty percent of claimants who filed a claim with a TSP felt they were adequately reimbursed. Id. at 8.

14. See generally Business Rules, supra note 4, §§ 1.1.1–2. The concept of holding TSPs accountable when goods are damaged while in their custody is not new; even without the FRVL, the Army pursued recovery actions against TSPs and other liable parties through the Federal Claims Collection Act. See 31 U.S.C. §§ 3701–20(e) (2018).

15. Business Rules, supra note 4, §§ 2.1.1–2. Soldiers are free to choose to file a claim under the FRVL, the PCA, or both. Id.

16. See Military Surface Deployment and Distrib. Command, Claims Data Pull, Fiscal Years 2014–16 (Oct. 20, 2016) (unpublished Excel document) (on file with author) [hereinafter SDDC Data].

17. FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 36.

18. See, e.g., U.S. Army Installation Mgmt. Command, Interactive Customer Evaluation Data, Fiscal Year 2014 (Oct. 19, 2016) (unpublished Excel document) (on file with author) [hereinafter FY14 ICE Data]; U.S. Army Installation Mgmt. Command, Interactive Customer Evaluation Data, Fiscal Year 2015 (Oct. 19, 2016) (unpublished Excel document) (on file with author) [hereinafter FY15 ICE Data]; U.S. Army Installation Mgmt. Command, Interactive Customer Evaluation Data, Fiscal Year 2016 (Oct. 19, 2016) (unpublished Excel document) (on file with author) [hereinafter FY16 ICE Data]. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) provided all Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) comments for Fiscal Years 2014, 2015, and 2016. E-mail from Mr. Russell Matthias, Interactive Customer Evaluation Management Analyst, U.S. Army Installation Mgmt. Command., to author (Oct. 19, 2016, 15:30 EST) (on file with author).

19. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.3.3.1. There are some situations in which spouses, survivors, or others can file a claim on behalf of a Soldier, but those instances are limited. See U.S. Dep’t of Army, Pam. 27-162, Claims Procedures para. 11-4(h)(5) (21 Mar. 2008) [hereinafter DA Pam. 27-162]. Soldiers comprise the bulk of claimants, but Civilian employees and some others can also be proper claimants. Id. para. 11-4(a). In this article, “Soldier” and “claimant” are used interchangeably to mean any proper claimant.

20. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.3.3.3. The U.S. Army Claims Service (USARCS) can grant extensions for “good cause for the delay.” Id. § 2.3.3.3.

21. Business Rules, supra note 4, para. 1.1.3.

22. See generally Business Rules, supra note 4, § 1.5.4. This is the same type of reimbursement the claimant would receive if filing under the PCA. 31 U.S.C. § 3721 (2018).

23. See Business Rules, supra note 4, §§ 2.0, 2.13.3.

24. Business Rules, supra note 4, § 1.5.1.

25. See DA Pam. 27-162, supra note 19, para. 11-7(a)(1).

26. Business Rules, supra note 4, § 1.2.2.

27. See U.S. Army Claims Serv., Allowance List Depreciation Guide (2007), https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/Sites%5C%5Cclaims.nsf/0/FEE2F6A5C1CE165585257B11004C26CE/ %24File/2007%20ALDG.pdf [hereinafter ALDG].

28. See generally 31 U.S.C. §§ 3701–3720(e) (2018); DA Pam. 27-162, supra note 19, ch. 11.

29. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.9.1.

30. Id. § 2.9.1.

31. Id. § 2.9.2. The withholding process is referred to as an “administrative offset.” Id.

32. Id. § 2.9.3. See also 31 U.S.C. § 3702.

33. 10 U.S.C. § 2636a(b) (2018).

34. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 1.1.2.5.

35. E-mail from Mr. Leland Gallup, Chief, Recovery Branch, U.S. Army Claims Serv., to author (Dec. 1, 2016, 11:39 EST) (on file with author). See also Center for Personnel Claims Support, Claims Data Pull, CPCS Stats FY17 and FY18 Army-Wide (Oct. 29, 2018) (unpublished Excel document) (on file with author) [hereinafter CPCS Data]. This document contains statistics on the number of Army PCA claims filed for Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018, as well as the amounts paid for those claims. Id.

36. See generally DA Pam. 27-162, supra note 19, ch. 11.

37. Id. para. 11-23.

38. See FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 27. The survey indicates low satisfaction rates with the FRV program, including only nineteen percent of junior enlisted Soldiers, forty-two percent of senior enlisted Soldiers, fifty-seven percent of officers, and fifty-eight percent of Civilian employees. Id.

39. Id. The survey is old, but is relevant to this discussion because there have been no intervening substantive changes to the PCA or FRVL claims rules. The last changes to AR 27-20 and DA PAM 21-162 occurred in 2008. See generally AR 27-20, supra note 12; DA Pam. 27-162, supra note 19. The last substantive change to the FRVL was in 2000. See 10 U.S.C. § 2636a(b) (2018).

40. FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 27. “[Forty percent] of respondents who submitted a claim received what they thought was a satisfactory settlement under the Full Replacement Value Program.” Id.

41. FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 8.

42. Id.

43. See generally id. at 9.

44. Id.

45. See id. at 27. Eighty-one percent of junior enlisted respondents were unsatisfied with the FRVL claims process. Id.

46. Id.

47. See, e.g., FY14 ICE Data, supra note 18; FY15 ICE Data, supra note 18; FY16 ICE Data, supra note 18.

48. See generally 10 U.S.C. § 2636a (2018).

49. See, e.g., Tutorials, Move.mil, https://move.mil/tutorials (last visited Aug. 28, 2019). This assertion is based on the author’s experience as the Chief, Client Services Division and Claims Attorney for the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, Alabama, from 15 October 2014 to 11 August 2016 [hereinafter Professional Experiences].

50. See DA Pam. 27-162, supra note 19, para. 11-23.a. Normally, USARCS will not pursue a claim against a TSP unless the Soldier files a claim with the Army; without a PCA claim, TSP behavior goes mostly unsupervised. Id.

51. Professional Experiences, supra note 49.

52. U.S. Dep’t of Def., 4500.9-R, Defense Transportation Regulation pt. IV-K1-20 (May 13, 2016) [hereinafter DTR] (providing that it is the TSP’s responsibility to “[p]repare an accurate and legible inventory”).

53. Id. See, e.g., Handling PCS Claims During and After a Move, Military.com, http://www.military.com/money/pcs-dity-move/handling-pcs-claims-during-after-move.html (last visited Aug. 28, 2019) (advising Soldiers to “[e]xamine preexisting damages carefully; if the movers have exaggerated the amount of preexisting damages, you should state your disagreement directly on the inventory. . . ”)

54. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 1.3.2 (“The TSP shall not be liable for . . . pre-existing damage.”).

55. See generally Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.3.

56. Compare DA Pam. 27-162, supra note 19, para. 11-1.b (“The Army Claims System intends that, within approved guidelines, Soldiers and civilian employees will be compensated for such losses to the maximum extent possible.”), with FRV Survey, supra note 10.

57. FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 39.

58. Id.

59. SDDC Data, supra note 16. See also FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 36 (providing that “[r]espondents receiving payment reported that on average, their payment covered [fifty-four percent] of their claim”).

60. See CPCS Data, supra note 35. In Fiscal Year 2017, the CPCS processed 2,631 claims, paying $3,951,992. Id. In Fiscal Year 2018, the CPCS processed 1,742 claims, paying $2,520,118. Id.

61. See U.S. Army Center for Personnel Claims Support, U.S. Army Statistics FY 14–FY 18 (Mar. 31, 2018) (unpublished PowerPoint presentation) (on file with author) [hereinafter CPCS Statistics]. U.S. Army Claims Service recovered over $1.6 million in FY 14, $1.8 million in FY 15, $1.6 million in FY 16, and $1.5 million in FY 17. Id. See also E-mail from Mr. Mark Edick, Operations Officer, CPCS, U.S. Army Claims Serv., to author (Oct 31, 2018, 16:02 EST) (on file with author). And USARCS recovered over $1 million in FY 18. Id.

62. DA Pam. 27-162, supra note 19, para. 11-23.a. (providing that the “Army normally does not assert claims against carriers until the Army has received a claim from the owner . . . ”).

63. SDDC Data, supra note 16.

64. See generally FRV Survey, supra note 10.

65. Id.

66. SDDC Data, supra note 16 (noting that $451,138,155.50 is the average for Fiscal Years 2014, 2015, and 2016).

67. Professional Experiences, supra note 49.

68. Id.

69. FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 40. Only thirty-one percent of respondents who filed a claim received payment from the TSP. Id.

70. Id.

71. Id.

72. Id. Out of 467 respondents who filed a claim with the TSP, only 185 received satisfactory payment. Id.

73. Id. Of those surveyed, only twenty-two percent of claimants receiving partial payment submitted a claim under the PCA. Id.

74. FRV Survey, supra note 10, at 40. According to the FRV Survey, only about twenty percent of those who sustained damage during a move received satisfactory payment under the FRV Program. Id.

75. Compare CPCS Data, supra note 35, with SDDC Data, supra note 16.

76. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.9. In the current system, the TSP’s liability for a lost or damaged item can be reviewed by the TSP’s adjudicator, the CPCS, the USARCS Recovery Branch, the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA), and even in a federal court. Id.

77. Professional Experiences, supra note 49. See also FRV Survey, supra note 10.

78. See generally CPCS Data, supra note 35.

79. This is the full process under the current system: (1) file Notice of Loss or Damage (NOLD), (2) TSP claim, (3) TSP initial written offer or denial, (4) TSP negotiation, (5) TSP final offer or denial. (6) PCA claim, (7) PCA adjudication and payment or denial, (8) PCA reconsideration request, (9) PCA reconsideration action, (10) TSP recovery action, (11) TSP negotiation, and (12) final remittance to claimant. See discussion supra The Army Personal Property Program in Practice. With a direct appeal, the process would be: (1) file NOLD, (2) TSP claim, (3) TSP written offer or denial, (4) CPCS assistance request, (5) TSP-ordered payment or offset action, and (6) final remittance to claimant. Id. Both processes would also include higher-level appeal rights to the DOHA or a suit in federal court, but those would be relatively rare. Id.

80. The CPCS functions as an online and call center resource. Headquarters, Office of the Judge Advocate Gen., 39-03 TJAG Sends (13 Aug. 2015) [hereinafter TJAG Sends]. The CPCS would be most effective in its review if its staff had direct access to view the claims files and supporting evidence that claimants entered into the DPS claims website. Alternatively, the claimant could send the file and substantiation directly to the CPCS using e-mail or the DoD SAFE (Secure Access File Exchange) large file sender.

81. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.9.1.

82. This is the current process for the Army to recover funds from the TSP—it “offsets” against funds it owes the TSP on other shipping contracts; the difference is that the offset is currently not accomplished until much later in the recovery process. See Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.9.2.

83. Business Rules, supra note 4, § 2.9.3; 31 U.S.C. § 3702 (2018).

84. While U.S. Transportation Command has the authority to make this change unilaterally, Business Rules are often promulgated after consultation with industry representatives. U.S. Army Claims Serv., Defense Personal Property Program Claims Handbook 25 (Steven Kelly ed., 3d ed. 2014). The Business Rules are incorporated by reference into individual shipping contracts, and TSPs that choose to do business with the Army will be bound by any subsequent rule change. Id.

85. See discussion supra Many Soldiers Do Not Fully Utilize the Army Personal Property Program.

86. See generally SDDC Data, supra note 16. It appears that TSPs in general have been avoiding the full extent of the FRVL’s liability mandate, especially considering the $685 average recovery and the fifty-five percent reimbursement rate. Id.

87. FRV Survey, supra note 10. According to the survey, only forty percent of claimants who filed a claim with a TSP felt they were adequately reimbursed. Id.

88. 10 U.S.C. § 2636a(a)–(b) (2018).

89. See SDDC Data, supra note 16.

90. See generally FRV Survey, supra note 10.

91. Id.

92. Professional Experiences, supra note 49.

93. See generally SDDC Data, supra note 16.