• 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)

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  • anon

    Whitney, sorry for the delivery issues with your prescriptions. We are going to look at the timeliness of delivery as part of our project, which hopefully can help. The Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your wonderful services and really helpful bringing us the mail and parcels timely fashion. Please do keep up the good work.

    Feb 09, 2019
  • anon

    Kanan, it’s always nice to hear positive feedback. Thanks for the posting, the Audit Team

    Feb 19, 2019
  • anon

    I'm a reservist in the US Navy Reserve. I was mobilized twice to the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2003 and 2010 for a total of 18 months. My mailing address was a Fleet Post Office (FPO) address. The mail service I used and received was excellent. Wherever the mail was mailed from in the USA, it was routed to Miami and put on a military rotator flight to Guantanamo twice a week. I even mailed an election ballot from Guantanamo with complete success. Excellent service at a great price! Also, my job in the reserves is a photojournalist. During my time there I photographed mail delivery operations many times for the DOD. I have several photos that have been cleared for public release by the DOD of service members moving the mail if you need any imagery for your report. The photos are official DOD imagery, therefore, you can use them with a photo credit. I have imagery ranging from dogs sniffing mail trays on a plane to service members sorting mail. Please email me if you need any imagery. Thanks PO1 David Coleman US Navy Reserve

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    David, great posting and thanks not only for your kudos about the service, but also for offering some of your photos. A team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    The DPO at Embassy Kyiv needs a lot of work. First, and most importantly, it is not recognized by numerous vendors and they will not ship to our DPO address. Other DPOs take up to two weeks, this DPO takes over three weeks and there are some packages that still have not arrived that were ordered over two months ago.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Nicholas, sorry for your service issues, and as you can see, many other commenters raised similar issues. A team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    When it works, DPO is incredible. Mail shipped through DPO arrives to Post dramatically faster than any other option. Unfortunately, however, we are continually faced with invalid mail restrictions. We regularly receive errors stating that our address is not valid or items are not eligible to ship to DPO (these are not items that should be restricted, but include office supplies, paper, clothing, and so forth). In fact the vast majority of our attempted purchases are not able to be shipped to our DPO address.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Yes, we've had this same, exact issue consistently.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    AR/Katelyn, thanks for the insights on these addressing and access issues. We are going to include questions on these issues as part of our work, and a team member will be circling back to each of you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I am so thankful for this service. For me, as a foreign service officer, this is one of the services that most connects me and my family with home. I echo a lot of what has been shared in other posts. One item that I did want to highlight is that I am still amazed by the amount of US based businesses that are not aware of DPO/APO or for whatever reason do not mail to DPO/APO addresses. Perhaps additional focus on informing businesses, including, encouraging them to support DPO/APO mailing as a simple patriotic act to support our the military, foreign service, and other US personnel serving overseas. Not for you, but maybe for legislatures it should be illegal to not support DPO/APO mailings if other regular mail is supported within the US. Thank You!

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for the suggestion about increasing awareness and support of DPO/APO service, and it’s something we will ask about as part of our audit work. A team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Most companies don't even ship to DPO, the items are slow, come damaged or go missing.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Andi, sorry for your service issues, we are looking into delayed, missing, and damaged mail. A team member will be circling back to you for more information about companies that won’t ship to the DPO. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    For the most part, the DPO works well... until it doesn't. Damaged packages, mail missent to the wrong DPO addresses which at times can take weeks or months to be corrected, and mail simply disappearing without a trace are chief complaints. Additionally, many online vendors simply refuse to ship to DPO addresses. Others don't even know they exist. On the back end, many commercial vendors, like Macys, use zipcode formatted address for returned goods which are not full addresses. USPS acknowledges these are legitimate address, but the USPS Customs Form does not, meaning substantive time is spent trying to get the vendor to provide a different return address, all due to the incompatibility of the USPS online customs form.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Mike, sorry for your service issues, and as you can see, many other commenters raised similar issues. A team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    As a FED posted overseas, often in places where products from home, or even basic necdcessities are not always available - I am dependent on APO/DPO and incredibly grateful for the service. Overall, our mail gets to our current location in a timely-ish manner. Complaints? Clearly someone with a baseball bat is taking out his frustrations on my amazon packages more often than not....

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Rachel, thanks for your insights and appreciation of this mail service. I am sorry, however, that you think someone is using your packages for batting practice. We’ll be covering damaged mail as part of our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    We have misrouted mail arriving to our past at least a few times a month. Many times it will be an entire bag that has been misrouted and other times we get misrouted letter or magazine mail mixed in with our stuff. The biggest issue I've seen in the last year was an entire bag of retrograde mail bound for Chicago was lost in Copenhagen and one of our customers had two boxes completely lost never to be found again. It seems the sorting facilities for DPO mail sometimes get overwhelmed and when things go bad to tend to go very bad. I don't mean to be so pessimistic and I would like to point out that the delivery rate of all our mail is still very good with about a 95-96% rate of success.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Stephen, thanks for your insights for each of our questions. We’ll be covering damaged mail as part of our audit work, and a team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    •Overall, were your experiences positive or negative when using the Postal Service for military and/or diplomatic mail service? Positive. •In instances where you had negative experiences: Prograde mail damaged do to improper packaging or liquids leakage - 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.)? DPO outbound mail - What issues caused the negative experiences – e.g., delayed mail, missing mail, or damaged mail, below expected customer service, or something else? The main cause of damaged mail is do to the size of the box being to big for the item inside and not enough packaging material causing the box to collapse due to the weight of the other parcels. Liquids mail overseas improperly packed since the liquids are ordered straight from the vendor for domestic shipping and the packaging is not suitable for international travel. One Example is an order of Monster drinks (case of) moving overseas, by the time we received the case, some of the cans are already busted inside the mail sack, causing damage to the rest of the mail inside the sack.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Luis, thanks for your insights for each of our questions. We’ll be covering damaged mail as part of our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Overall, the service is good. We served at one post with just pouch service so now being at a post with a DPO is awesome. The only consistent theme I’ve noticed is that several packages have been lost or misrouted out of Chicago (always Chicago). Then the package is out for months making its way to us. Otherwise it’s always been quick and reliable.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your insights, particularly on the lost and misrouted issues. We are looking into those types of issues as part of our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Packages are often misrouted causing significant delays. Often packages arrive in poor condition as if they were run over by a vehicle at times.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    T., thanks for your insights, and sorry for those issues. We are looking at misrouted, delayed, and damaged mail as part of our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I’m very grateful for this service, and it has worked generally well at the three posts (on three different continents) where we have been. There does seem to be a higher rate of misdirected mail than previously since the processing center was switched to Chicago - I recently was without medicine for a few days because it was lost in the system for a month and turned out to have erroneously been routed to Japan and then sent back to the US. Had the tracking details been more specific and I had known it was heading to Japan, I could have contacted the mailroom there and asked them to watch out for it and send it directly to me instead of back to the US first. A second issue - more and more US businesses won’t send to APO/DPO, necessitating using the pouch. If there were a way to send via UPS to the processing center in the US, that would greatly increase the options available to us. Lastly, please consider increasing the maximum length+girth dimension for DPO to 130 inches, as it is for APO/FPO. We tried to ship a bicycle for my 9 year old daughter (very difficult to get locally at our current post) and were unable to within the currently allowable 108”, even after taking the wheels off.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your insights, particularly the three specific issues. We’ll add some questions on those to our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    As others have stated, I really cannot overemphasize what a huge boost to quality of life it is, to have access to an American address. Love love love getting groceries, birthday gifts, and more from the USA. Thanks to all who provide this service to those of us serving overseas--you make a huge difference in our lives! I'm not about to complain about slow service or crumpled packages, though we've certainly experienced both. I am just incredibly grateful to have this service at all.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your appreciation of the service, that always nice to hear. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    My mail often comes damaged. The boxes look like they've been put through a meat grinder. I am at a DPO in AE, and my mail regularly gets routed to the USS Nimitz. Twice, it's been routed to AP. When things go right, we get our mail in a week. When they don't, it can take up to four months. I have also had international packages mailed to me that have never shown up. More and more vendors do not allow the use of DPO addresses, which is frustrating.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Margaret, sorry for your service issues, and we will be looking at them as part of our project. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I do not understand why items with lithium batteries are constantly rejected when shipping to the DPO and pouch addresses. All the items I have ordered, to include iPhones, laptops, and other devices all have the lithium batteries built into the devices when manufactured. It is my understanding that as long as the batteries are built into the device and can't be easily removed without tools, that they were fine to ship. It is quite frustrating that these items, with built in batteries, contained within boxes, turned off, and unused, cannot be shipped via air. It seems contradictory since commercial airlines all over the world are filled with hundreds of passengers, all with electronic devices that contain lithium batteries. These devices are turned on and being used and often being charged via USB or plugged in. Why is it that this is OK, yet a device being shipped in a box cannot be shipped? The policy seems to make no sense to me.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your insights, and we’ll add some questions on the policies related to mailable items (such as lithium batteries) to our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    My overall experience with received mail has been very positive. Occasionally, we have misdirected mail, but it does not happen at a high frequency. We have had minor issues with damaged packages, but I find that the majority of the time it has to do with the way the sender is packaging items. I do wonder if mail handlers along the shipping route could be more gentle with the packages, but I also understand they process a large volume of packages. My primary dissatisfaction is with outgoing mail. I find the online application to be very burdensome and difficult to use. I have had great difficulty processing payments for packages. Fraud protection is very important, but it needs to be more balanced.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    AeKyong, thanks for your insights, particularly on the outbound payment issues. We’ll add some questions on that to our audit work. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I'm very grateful to have a DPO in Turkey. Like others, I've noticed more and more packages arrive damaged. While I've had packages go missing, they're few and far between thankfully.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Linda, thanks for your insights. Many other commenters have also posted on issues with damaged mail, and we are going to look at them as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Never had a issue with the mailroom or staff at three posts I have been to. Very professional and knowledgeable. It is understandable why packages take a little longer than normal. However, the one thing I will complain about is the Click and Ship. It is not user friendly, if your password expires or is lost, it is a whole process to get it back. Part of the reason is since the IP is thrown, it makes it seem like the website is being infiltrated by hackers, thus causing the process to be extended without real reason. Otherwise, no complaints. I am glad we have the ability to get and send mail.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Some other posters have also brought up problems with Click and Ship, and we will add some questions on that to our audit work. Thanks for your insights, the Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    We are stationed overseas so receive mail from the U.S. internationally. Consistently our bulkier boxes show up with significant damage, often times to the point where the box is required to be wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent contents from coming out. Our buying habits have not changed since living in the U.S. yet there is a noticeable difference in the care taken with our packages between USPS and UPS/FEDEX. My comments are consistent with the comments below. We are thankful for the service as there is not another economical competitor, but because of the consistent lack of care with our packages I would not choose to use USPS if there were other options.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Brett, thanks for your insights, and sorry for those service issues. Many other commenters have posted on issues with damaged mail, and we are looking at them as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Overall, the service of the DPO is very good. However, in late 2018 I had several misspent packages. In two of the cases, I was able to see that the package was sent to the wrong DPO and sent back to the U.S. (Through viewing USPS tracking). In one of the packages, I couldn't see where the package was, and 2 months later it showed up unexpectedly. Two of the packages were doing the holiday season, so I understand that volume played a factor, but at least one of them was before the main rush. But, barring these incidents, the DPO is great.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Marc, thanks for your insights on quality of the service, and sorry for the service issues you experienced. We are looking at missent mailings as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I find the service to be extremely beneficial for those of us serving overseas. I started working overseas before this service started and I've seen how it's improved lives immensely enabling the guaranteed receipt (most of the time anyway) of those items families need. I know it's made a difference in the life of my family personally and I'm thankful for it. I've had packages misrouted or delayed in the past, but in considering the overall process, I have no problems with the services finding them to be relatively efficient. Thanks USPS!

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Robert, thanks for your insights on the value and appreciation of those services. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    Greetings from Embassy Ankara (Turkey)! This is my fourth overseas posting with the State Department, with prior tours in Sao Paulo, Istanbul and Guatemala City. I have utilized a DPO in all four locations. My outgoing mail (from Post to the U.S.) has always been delivered. Sometimes it takes a few weeks, which is longer than expected. Incoming mail (from U.S. to Post) has always arrived. This is just an estimate, but perhaps half of the boxes arrive partially damaged. Only a few over the past 7+ years needed to be taped shut while en route. Incoming mail can sometimes take 3 weeks, even when sent U.S. Priority Mail by a family member.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Tobin, thanks for reaching out to us from Turkey! We are going to look at mail delays as part of our review, and appreciate your insights. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I receive DPO mail in EUR, and am very dissatisfied with the service. A high percentage of my items arrive seriously damaged, wet, tape ripped open - this applies to packages and flat mail. Misroutings are frequent, and packages are delayed by weeks because they are taking the scenic route through the Caribbean and/or South America before coming to Europe. At my last post (WHA) it took a minimum of one month for items to simply make it from post to the DPO center in FLA, where they would always sit for at least one week before starting the journey to the destination. I am grateful to have the service, but it could work far better than it does. This has been true for the entire eight years I have been a DPO/APO customer.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your appreciation of the DPO/APO service and we are sorry for the service quality and reliability issues. We will be looking at them as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 15, 2019

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