• Project Title:
  • Military and Diplomatic Mail Service
  • Start Date:
  • Monday, November 5, 2018
  • Estimated Report Release Date:
  • June 2019

The Postal Service partners with the Department of Defense and the Department of State to deliver mail to U.S. military and diplomatic personnel and their families either in the continental U.S. or outside.

The Postal Service’s ability to help facilitate high-quality mail service is crucial for supporting military and diplomatic operations and upholding the Postal Service’s brand and image. If you have experiences with military and/or diplomatic mail service, we would love to hear from you.

  • Overall, were your experiences positive or negative when using the Postal Service for military and/or diplomatic mail service?
  • In instances where you had negative experiences:

           - What types of mailings did they involve – e.g., domestic, international inbound (coming into the U.S), or international outbound (going out of the U.S.)?  
           - What issues caused the negative experiences – e.g., delayed mail, missing mail, or damaged mail, below expected customer service, or something else?

  • What things, if any, could the Postal Service do to enhance its military and/or diplomatic mail service?

Comments (233)

We welcome your comments related to the topic on this page. Complaints about the Postal Service, including lost, stolen or mishandled mail, that are unrelated to the content on this page, will not be posted. Please visit the Contact Us page for information on where to file formal complaints with our agency or the Postal Service.

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  • anon

    I am very grateful for the DPO service. It often works well and is timely (as fast as 10 days from US to Asia). However, since late October I have had at least 5 lost or misdirected shipments. At least 4 of those were sent to the wrong DPO, and instead of forwarding here, they were returned to sender from Chicago. One explanation I received for a package sent in late November was that the package was addressed correctly, but the post office may have keyed in the wrong DPO when mailing. They did not know why the wrong DPO did not perform directory on the package and forward to the correct address and instead just returned to sender. I asked the vendor to try again, and the package was sent to the same wrong DPO again then returned to sender. This took over 2 months and the shipment contained Christmas gifts that never arrived. The vendor would not attempt to send a 3rd time and refunded my money. (When I reordered the very late gifts, some of the items were out of stock. The new package went through Jersey City. This week’s update on the replacement package states it “has been rerouted to the correct delivery address”. I am crossing my fingers :) ) Why are people manually entering zip codes when the shipper is a vendor that uses labels with bar codes? The most recent package was sent back from Chicago (without ever going to any DPO) to the sender with no explanation and the sender told me they have not received the returned package. I have had a number of damaged packages. Some were taped together again so I appreciate that. I was lucky that the vendors have replaced/refunded damaged items or missing packages. However, it is unfortunate to have so many packages arrive damaged or go missing, I have concerns that the vendors may consider removing the DPO shipping options as these issues are time consuming and cost them money. Thank you!

    Feb 22, 2019
  • anon

    Excellent service and thank you for providing mail service into and out of our post overseas! It really is a morale boosted and quality of life bonus to be able to receive and send mail while overseas. DPO through Chicago is very fast most of the time, we oncegkt something in 4 days! If DPO gets routed to Newark it is very slow and usually gets sent to the wrong post but eventually makes it to us. Thank you!

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Overall I'm happy with the APO/DPO AE mail service, thanks for improving my and my family's quality of life overseas! However, on occasion packages do show up damaged. The biggest frustration is when packages are miss-sent to the wrong APO/DPO (which happens fairly often) and then have to go all the way back to the US before they're re-sent to the correct address. This adds several weeks to the delivery time and increases the likelihood of damaged packages. Why not send the miss-sent packages directly to the correct DPO/APO, without routing them back through the US?

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for the positive message and suggestion; it’s always good to hear positive experiences with APO/DPO service. We are sorry for the instances of delayed and/or damaged mail, and are looking in to how those pieces are handled as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    I don’t know what has changed recently but in the last month we have had THREE items of mail misrouted in Chicago. Even though each was clearly marked as an AP address they got sent to Europe (AE address). This had never happened to us before but it seems almost commonplace now. Is someone reviewing processes or training? If not the MPS office in Chicago will continue to fail.

    Feb 20, 2019
  • anon

    Jeff, thanks for your posting and sorry for your service issues. We are looking at the misrouted and missent mail, and the operations at the Chicago facility as part of our review. A team member will be reaching out to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    In general, I am very very grateful for DPO! It has made living overseas much easier and in the majority of cases, mail is very quick, within two weeks! I reside abroad, and in the past 18 months have encountered 3 instances where mail went missing. I live in Malaysia, and packages were misdirected to Finland, Burma, and one other place. I have also often received packages that are rather damaged, squashed, broken, or ripped. While handlers handle thousands of boxes a day, it is good to remember that to the individual, it could represent something very important, or in the case of medicines, with life/death impact. A broken box with medications missing along the way can be devastating. Thank you, DPO, for your service!!!

    Feb 20, 2019
  • anon

    Rebecca, it’s always good to hear positive experiences with DPO service. While we are sorry for the instances of delayed and/or damaged mail, we are looking at these issues as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    The DPO mail system does a great job. My family is very happy to receive our US Mail. Unfortunately, too many places treat DPO as a PO Box and won't accept it. One negative I've experienced is with lithium batteries and liquid being denied for amounts that are allowed in regular mail. I've also seen an increase in the amount of damaged packages. Mail is occasionally mis-sent to the wrong DPO processing region (AE instead of AP) but this usually happens during peak seasons and although inconvenient, the mail is eventually received.

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    Paul, great to hear about your positive experiences with DPO mail. We looking at issues with mailability (e.g., for the batteries), damaged mail, and delayed mail as part of our project. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Between Nov 2018-February 2019, I've experienced several mis-routed packages to my DPO address (09864). In each instance, I've been able to verify that the address was entered correctly upon purchase from the vendor. In 3 situations, the package was returned to vendor after being re-routed to several APO/FPO locations around the globe. In another situation, the package was shipped from domestic location end of December 2018, and as of February 19, 2019, has still not been received nor returned to vendor. It has also been around the globe several times. We are pleased to have DPO at post Almaty - and when it works as intended, it's great, with fast shipping and great customer service. However, when the package gets routed incorrectly, it is a nebulous process to the customer. In hopes that the DPO issues can be worked out, I've just reverted back to using pouch. While slower, it is more consistent. I'd love to be able to use DPO more in the future, but for really time-sensitive things, it's just not reliable enough. Thank you for your efforts to get it sorted out.

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    Andrea, sorry for your service issues. We are looking at misrouted and missent mail as part of our project, and a team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    I used FPO addresses while active duty and government employee overseas for 32 years. I was always pleased with the efficiency of service.

    Feb 18, 2019
  • anon

    Louis, thanks for the note, as it’s always great to hear about these positive experiences with the FPO service. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Receiving mail via DPO is a HUGE morale boost! The speed of delivery has improved greatly in most cases the last few years, but lately the instances of mis-routed mail (wrong side of the world!) and heavily damaged packages have increased dramatically. It used to be that damaged packages were limited to Walmart's poor packaging job, but Walmart has now improved their services, and the damage is now spread evenly to all vendors so I have to assume it is now being damaged in the routing/processing. I also use the USPS website for click-and-ship often. Why is there not a feature where I can pay for postage for letter mail? I am quite proficient for packages at this point, but am always frustrated that I cannot pay for postage for letter/card mail, not only to and from the US, but also to international destinations. OR that I cannot buy additional services for letter mail on the site, such as a return receipt. Or that the current label that prints does not fit on the labels I purchased from the site! The recent heavily damaged packages might also be due to Jakarta’s excessive number of loose-load boxes. These boxes should be bagged in the USPS processing facility. The high number of loose boxes cause problems with the Indonesian Customs officials. Please encourage the USPS processing center to ensure boxes being sent to DPOs, that can fit in a bag, are actually sent in bags, as opposed to loose, in order to reduce the high level of misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail.

    Feb 18, 2019
  • anon

    Mary, thanks for the appreciation of DPO service. We are looking into damaged and misrouted mail, and the other service concerns (loose-load boxes and Click-N-Ship) as part of our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Several times the vendor did not ship to the DPO address, and I would like to encourage USPS to help increase awareness of the DPO address. Thank you.

    Feb 18, 2019
  • anon

    We are looking at those addressing and awareness issues as part of this review. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    I have sent my deployed military daughter 5 care packages via USPS, 2 are still lost in the Chicago USPS system and have been for a few weeks, one has been stuck in the Chicago mail system, not scanned for 3 or 4 weeks, the other is about the same. Is someone taking these packages knowing that they are care packages for our military, hoping for the goodies inside? The case I opened with USPS (which took 4 calls to USPS and 6.5 hours of my time) to get through has gone no where. Incredibly awful experience, especially when USPS is my only option and it is so unreliable!!!!

    Feb 18, 2019
  • anon

    Lili, we are sorry for your negative experiences, and a team member will be reaching back out to you for additional information. We will be covering missing and delayed mail as part of our project. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    The tracking is super vague so that there are long stretches of time along the route with no tracking information. When I ship package back to the US, there is a total tracking blackout before I know where anything is. Since I'm praying for a tracked service, I'm definitely not getting my money's worth.

    Feb 18, 2019
  • anon

    Natasha, thanks for your insight on the limitations with the Postal Service’s tracking. We are looking at some of those issues as part of our project, and a team member will be reaching back out to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Jakarta’s DPO receives an excessive number of loose-load boxes, which should be bagged in the USPS processing facility. The high number of loose boxes cause problems with the Indonesian Customs officials. Please encourage the USPS processing center to ensure boxes being sent to DPOs that can fit in a bag are actually sent in bags, as opposed to loose, in order to reduce the high level of misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail.

    Feb 16, 2019
  • anon

    Ms. Sing, thanks for your insights, and they mirror those of other customers of the Jakarta DPO. We are looking into damaged, misrouted, and delayed mail as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    The audit team just wanted to thank everyone for posting to this page--the insights you all have provided will greatly benefit our audit work, and hopefully facilitate corresponding improvements to military and diplomatic mail service. We also wanted to apologize for the delayed response to some of the recent comments---we'll be catching up on the replies today. This blog is going to remain open for a few more weeks, so please feel free to continue to chime in. Thanks again.

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Most of the packages that were sent to me came in good condition.

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    It’s always nice to hear about good service. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Thankful for the DPO system in general. However, the USPS Click-n-Ship site needs work. It took our family six months of work, multiple workarounds, and many calls to the help desk to get to where we could use the site to print and pay for shipping labels. It's a common complaint here at US Embassy Oslo. Thanks for your time.

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Aaron, many posters have raised concerns with Click-N-Ship, and we are looking into it. A team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    Jakarta’s DPO receives an excessive number of loose-load boxes, which should be bagged in the USPS processing facility. The high number of loose boxes cause problems with the Indonesian Customs officials. Please encourage the USPS processing center to ensure boxes being sent to DPOs that can fit in a bag are actually sent in bags, as opposed to loose, in order to reduce the high level of misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Michal, thanks for your insights, and they mirror those of other customers of the Jakarta DPO. We are looking into damaged, misrouted, and delayed mail as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    I have been on active duty in the US Navy for 27 years so i can attest to the importance of regular and reliable mail service. The latest problems in jakarta have been way below the standard to which I have come to expect from the USPS and needs to be corrected ASAP. Interrupted Mail service has large and unquantifiable impacts on the entire overseas community and our quality of life. Jakarta’s DPO receives an excessive number of loose-load boxes, which should be bagged in the USPS processing facility. The high number of loose boxes cause problems with the Indonesian Customs officials. Please encourage the USPS processing center to ensure boxes being sent to DPOs that can fit in a bag are actually sent in bags, as opposed to loose, in order to reduce the high level of misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail.

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Thomas, thanks for your posting, and the issues mirror those of many other commenters. We will look at these issues as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    I am so thankful that I am able to utilize the services that are offered to military and FSOs abroad - it makes time in Indonesia much more pleasant - but there have been several times that boxes have finally arrived, weeks later than indicated online and they are crushed and a few were even missing items. I know that Amazon doesnt pack things in as tightly as they could -- but it is also a problem with the distribution of boxes at the sorting facility too. Jakarta’s DPO receives an excessive number of loose-load boxes, which should be bagged in the USPS processing facility. The high number of loose boxes cause problems with the Indonesian Customs officials. Please encourage the USPS processing center to ensure boxes being sent to DPOs that can fit in a bag are actually sent in bags, as opposed to loose, in order to reduce the high level of misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail. If we do this then it will be a better service for all involved.

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Liz, thanks for your insights and your appreciation of these services. Multiple other posters also brought up issues about loose-load boxes, and how they contribute to misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail. We will look at these issues as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    I would say the incidence of mis-routed items is less than 10%. Damage to the shipping box occurs more frequently, but I've only received damaged items on a handful of occasions over threeish years of DPO use (usually the seller will rectify the issue). Having been to non-DPO Embassies, I would suggest as a number one priority is to expand DPO to EVERY embassy as many still do not have DPO! DPO is a lifesaver and makes a huge quality of life upgrade to those of us far from home! While the service is not perfect, we really appreciate having access to the service as it stands, and we appreciate the hard work of everyone involved who makes it happen!

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Brian, thanks for the posting and suggestion about expanded access to DPO service. We will look at the access issue, as well as the damaged & misrouting concerns. The Audit Team

    Feb 21, 2019
  • anon

    I have worked in a embassy environment for over 15 years. and the DPO has on many occasions been nothing short of a lifesaver for myself and my family. The DPO here in Belgrade is superb and the staff are always willing to go the extra mile to assist. The DPO availability is most definitely a moral and welfare booster.

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Timothy, thanks for passing along your appreciations about the DPO service—it’s always great to get hear that feedback. The Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    While underway, packages tend to get to the ship very quickly. However, in port it can take, honestly, months for something to get to the ship. I'm not sure if its just a mail-pick up issue but it seems to be a postal issue.

    Feb 14, 2019
  • anon

    Jillian, thanks for your insights. A team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    In Jakarta shipping times from the States are excellent - for example, Amazon boxes usually arrive in 2 weeks or less, which is impressive. Unfortunately, the condition with which they arrive is often terrible. Boxes are often smashed, imploded, or ripped open and resealed with tape somewhere along the line. I assumed this was happening in shipment, but from some of the comments here suggest that could be happening in customs. If there's a way to remedy this I would be highly supportive.

    Feb 13, 2019
  • anon

    Jonathan, it’s great to hear that you’ve been getting timely service. Many other commenters have posted on issues with damaged mail, and we are going to look at it as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    The staff is doing a great job getting our items/mail to us expeditiously. On rare occasions, my boxes are smashed.

    Feb 13, 2019
  • anon

    Ruth, it’s great to hear that you’ve been getting timely service, and it’s a bummer to hear about the damaged pieces. We are going to look at damaged mail as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    Hello, My mom send me 4 packages, all flat rate boxes to my DPO. Three of the four boxes made it here in a timely fashion, but one of them was labeled "missent" and is now very late in arriving. All boxes should have been processed in the same way, so I do not understand why one of them would not make it here. Thank you.

    Feb 13, 2019
  • anon

    Amy, great question, and we are hoping to find some insights into the reasons for these instances of missent mail during this project. A team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    As others have stated, having DPO service is outstanding and very appreciated at Post! One of the most significant morale boosters overseas, it is a lifeline to family, friends, and our home country while serving overseas, regardless of location. However, we have experienced over the last 18 months a significant increase in the number of packages (i.e. boxes) that have been severely crushed during shipment, to the point that corners are busted open and items in the shipment missing. While Amazon is a common shipper with boxes suffering this fate on a regular basis (in part because of its use of large boxes without adequate packing material inside to prevent box crush), the extent of the damage and frequent receipt of smashed and open boxes is becoming a serious concern. Our DPO colleagues have been unable to date to determine where in the pipeline the damage is occurring, but we suspect somewhere between Chicago and Post's closest international airport. Your help investigating and resolving this smashed/crushed box issue would be greatly appreciated by all. Thank you!

    Feb 13, 2019
  • anon

    We are happy to hear about your positive experiences. We are looking into the causes of damaged mail as part of our project, and a team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    I am thrilled we have the DPO. However, Jakarta’s DPO receives an excessive number of loose-load boxes, which should be bagged in the USPS processing facility. The high number of loose boxes cause problems with the Indonesian Customs officials. Please encourage the USPS processing center to ensure boxes being sent to DPOs that can fit in a bag are actually sent in bags, as opposed to loose, in order to reduce the high level of misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail. I have had items bounce around various countries and back to the sorting facility 3-4 times before it actually makes it to me here. Packages are often found to be torn and opened and items missing. There is probably no way around this process, but putting items names and value on the customs forms does not help the situation.

    Feb 13, 2019

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