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Top PCS Trends We Saw Across Our Network in 2021

The shifting influence of the pandemic continues to impact PCSing in the military community in various ways. In addition, duty assignments and PCS procedures and doctrines have varied between branch compounding the problem as services experiment with best practices as the COVID has continued to evolve. At Pay-It-Forward Inc. it’s our mission to create better PCS experiences though a robust network of real estate agents who are specially trained to handle the needs of PCSing families. Let’s continue into our breakdown of the top PCS trends we’ve seen from around our network in the first half of 2021, and what they could mean for the future.

All Hands On Deck

We’re still seeing the result of worker shortages and supply chain issues (which peaked this summer) in all industries at this stage of the pandemic. The moving industry is no exception. The Air Force’s Personal Property Activity Headquarters said in a press conference “Department of Defense demand this peak (PCS) season has greatly exceeded commercial industry capabilities, largely due to resource constraints associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Per industry, this resulted in a 25% decrease in their labor pool, resulting in (decreased) personal property movement capacity necessary to support private sector and government demand.”


 The army reported delays in 4% of its over 70,000 moving related shipments, mostly related to shortages in moving personnel such as truck drivers. These challenges are distinctly regional too, so much so that PCS locations in the same state may vary dramatically in terms of moving resource availability. Ultimately, that means some military families are hit harder than others, and why knowing what to expect and plan for when arriving at your next duty station is important. (Find your base here). 


This year more than ever, being in touch with a local real estate agent that knows the week-to-week status and reliability of individual moving companies is certainly a resource. Our network of local real estate agents can assist you and provide you with helpful resources that help incoming families navigate the intricacies of the current PCS environment at their next duty station.


How is Military Leadership Helping Address PCS concerns?

Despite the fact that many of the logistical problems facing moving military families in 2021 are a result of private industry trends, we’ve seen military commands implement policy that may help ease pressures on the average PCSing family. Legislation that implements things like flexible PCS dates, Lendlease programs, BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) adjustments, on-base hotel partnerships, and a 100% reimburse rate for self-moves (also now officially called self-procurement moves, formerly Do It Yo0uself Moves) have certainly helped improve the overall PCS situation in the first half of 2021 which is a step in the right direction. 

It’s also clear that we may be seeing large scale adjustments to the entire structure of PCSing, as the services begin to reconsider the effectiveness of large amounts of moves on overall force readiness and personnel effectiveness. 

 As a last note, the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs shared a few tips to help PCS’ing Families as fall approaches.


  • Get shipping requests in four to six weeks prior to the pickup window.
  • Ask about expanding pack/pickup (a.k.a., “spread date”) windows from the current seven-day requirement to 14 days.
  • Contact the assignments team to determine if they can postpone the move by changing the “report not later than” date.