Overseas But Paying the Price: Army Ends Policy that Allowed Soldiers to Store Belongings While Deployed

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December 28, 2023
A truck that was abandoned on Fort Hood, Texas, sits in the LZ Phantom storage lot, waiting to be sold in the Nonappropriated Fund vehicle auction on Fort Hood.

The Army has ended a major program that allowed soldiers to store their home goods and vehicles at no cost while they are away from home for extended periods of time.

Army Sustainment Command, which oversees logistics for the force, discontinued the use of funds across the service to store vehicles and other goods owned by soldiers while they are deployed, Sgt. Pablo Saez, a service spokesperson, told Military.com on Wednesday.

The move happened in October, but the new policy has not previously been reported in the press, with the order not widely distributed to the force.

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Army planners are drafting a policy that would enable storage at no cost to soldiers, though that reversal was noted only after Military.com initially inquired on the matter in early December. The service did not mention the development of the future cost-saving policy to the publication when initially contacted after the move elicited widespread scorn online.

It was not immediately clear whether the funding was discontinued for all types of deployments or only for soldiers on temporary duty, or TDY.

“We understand the burden this could potentially place on soldiers, and HQDA G-1 is drafting policy that would enable such storage,” Saez said in a statement to Military.com.

In the meantime, soldiers are authorized to store their vehicles in motor pools, which are often occupied by tactical vehicles and frequently are not covered or climate controlled.

The service has long offered vouchers for soldiers to store their belongings. During deployments, some troops have historically ended their apartment leases and rented a storage locker, subsidized by the Army, to save money on rent. But in October, the Army G-1, which oversees personnel policy and is commanded by Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt, decided current travel policies note only that a soldier’s belongings “may” be stored, meaning the Army didn’t have to do so, according to an internal memo from Col. Heather Carlisle, director for support operations at Army Sustainment Command.

“HQDA G1, the proponent for [storage] entitlements, recently determined that the Army would no longer support [storage] entitlements because there is no Army policy explicitly authorizing storage in support of soldiers deployed for contingency operations,” Carlisle said in an Oct. 23 memo. She did not return multiple requests for comment.

This is one of two sudden moves from the Army’s G-1 that caused ire among the rank and file and some leadership in the service. In October, sudden orders for hundreds of noncommissioned officers to immediately attend recruiting school after the Army failed to properly track how many recruiters it had and how many new ones were entering the pipeline through the school at Fort Knox, Kentucky, led to soldiers potentially being shipped out weeks before the holidays.

Related: The Army Suddenly, and Chaotically, Told Hundreds of Soldiers They Have to Be Recruiters Immediately

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