• 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

    While the mailroom staff here at AIT Taipei is excellent, since we are a 'new' DPO, Amazon and other retailers don't recognize our DPO address like the previous posts I've been. Many DPO customers have complained that their DPO address is nearly unusable since no retailers recognize this DPO and refuse to ship items our way. Could someone please reach out to the ‘inter-everything’ and let the world know that this DPO exists? Best regards and thank you for making DPO possible, Chris Miller

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

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

    Feb 15, 2019
  • anon

    I have experience with both APO and DPO service and am immensely grateful for its availability. It definitely shapes our thinking about how much stuff to bring with us to post. Damaged packaging? Sure, but we've very few damaged items -- none immediately come to mind. Don't mind the 4 week lead time for packages; you quickly learn to plan ahead. Longer mailing only affects in two circumstances -- time-sensitive return mailings and letter mail, where time-sensitive password information hasn't arrived in time for me to access the account before the temporary credential expires. Most of the problems we've encountered are with vendors unable to find the address/zip code provided in their automated mailing systems. Have also found USPS shipping software cumbersome to use (our only option here), though familiarity has made things simpler over time. Overall, we're generally satisfied with APO/DPO service as the costs and inconvenience of using local mail service are understood.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Kevin, thanks for your insights into APO and DPO service and expectations. A team member will be reaching out to you for more information about those address and shipping software issues. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I receive USPS mail via a DPO at an overseas Embassy (U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur). In the last 10-12 months, I have noticed that the packages I receive are often quite delayed and damaged. In my opinion, since USPS consolidated mail processing in Chicago, I have seen a high level of misrouted, damaged and delayed mail.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your posting and sorry about those issues. We are looking at misrouted, damaged, and delayed mail as part of our review. A team member will be reaching out to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I work at the American Institute in Taiwan. In the last year, we got DPO service. For the most part, it has been excellent, and I thank you for your great work. There has been one significant problem, however. Many websites -- most notably Amazon -- still do not recognize our zip code (09862) as a valid address. I can understand that a new DPO address might cause a few hiccups. But it is unfortunate that after a whole year, we are still experiencing this problem. It would be really great if you could figure out why this is the case and help fix it. Thanks.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your insights on the high-quality service and the addressing issue. A team member will be reaching out to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Overall my experience is good. Grateful to have this service. Happy with the speed. Packages often arrive to me in Asia in around two weeks, which is great. Biggest problem is crushed packages, especially larger boxes with lighter contents. Most of those get badly crushed.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Andrew, thanks for your insights on the service quality. We are looking at damaged mail as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    The DPO is a vital lifeline for those of us living abroad, and probably one of the most important services provided to those serving abroad. We extend our sincere thanks to those who work hard to make sure we are able to stay connected. The only thing that could be improved is communicating better with Amazon about the creation of new DPO addresses so that they are recognized. Many purchases are not allowed to go through because Amazon doesn't recognize the address. But this is a quibble - overall, fantastic service!

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Ryan, thanks for your insights on the importance and value of these services. Other posters have also brought up the addressing issues and we are looking at it as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    As many others have also mentioned, I too am very grateful that this service exists to help us get some items from home while serving overseas. The speed of mail fluctuates from time-to-time, however I can't complain with the time it takes. That said, I do know that this issue of frequently damaged boxes has been voiced to the DPO powers-at-be once before, and the answer to us out at post was "tell your shipper to make sure they package better, as the boxes and packaging they use is not good enough". This answer is humorously unacceptable. I've received packages that look like they've been tossed out of the plane flying overhead. To tell the shipper to package better, means they would have to send my items in pelican cases to survive whatever happens once they reach Chicago, and this is when you know there is a problem. Additionally, I've seen how our packages come in and go out in bags. Why not use pallets, or something else to protect our packages? Could this play a part in the reason packages come crushed? In the case of my Post, our DPO mailroom is fantastic. When it comes to this issue, it looks to stem from Chicago, and whatever happens to our packages once getting there. Hopefully these comments and complaints can influence a change to the way we run our mail system.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    I 100% agree with this comment.

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    RP & NC, we are looking at damaged mail as part of this review and appreciate your suggestions. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I've used DPO in multiple posts and never recalled major issues. For some reasons the service to Burkina Faso has been very negative. Over 70% of the time Amazon vendors would not recognize the DPO address. When things do arrive, about 50% is fairly damaged.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Chris, we are looking at damaged mail and addressing issues as part of this review. We realize others are experiencing similar issues. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    We ship mostly packages from the USA to Africa. Service can be slow and many, many packages arrive mangled.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    We are looking at delayed and damaged mail as part of this review. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    First of all - we could not live without DPO and APO. If it ever goes away, we probably would quit working overseas. Certainly you can get more than before outside the US, but it's a matter of costs and also of freshness and finding the genuine article. That being said, the quality of the USPS service logistics has decreased notably in the past nine years. I think it is faster, and for that I am grateful. But especially if I send a package back to the US, there are places in the system (somehwere in New Jersey especially) where things seem to repeatedly get lost. I used to use ebay to help me manage selling household goods that I no longer needed and after three hundred dollars of lost shipments in a year leading to chargebacks, I finally gave up. I'm perhaps more forgiving about damaged items because I understand packaging is important, but when an entire mailbag gets left in a trailer outside Newark somewhere a few times a year with my stuff in it, I start to wonder what is going on. It just reminded me that I have books somewhere right now that were last tracked in Elk Grove village three weeks ago that have still not arrived. I have at least one friend every week who is missing something. Misdelivery is a huge problem. I sometimes wonder if it's less than accidental, because it's at certain points in the system. The service and demeanor of USPS/DPO employees to families serving overseas is fantastic. I have nothing but good to say about my point of contact both at the embassy and at post offices back the US. I appreciate them, I appreciate their concern and care for us. I think if USPS could get a handle on all the lost and misdelivered items, they would have a great thing going.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for the detailed posting—both the issues you raised, but also your positive views of the customer service of the USPS/DPO employees. We are looking at those issues as part of our review and a team member will be circling back to you for additional information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Post: West African Post Comment: The DPO has served well for shipping large quantities of liquids. The only problem is that it takes twice the amount of time to receive a shipment (usually 1 month). At this point, I rarely use the DPO because it takes so long to receive a shipment.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your posting and we are sorry about your service issues. We are looking at delayed mail as part of our review and a team member will be circling back to you for additional information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    DPO is a treasured resource at our otherwise austere post. And we appreciate the efforts to make improvements. The top issues we've experienced at post include: 1) Damaged, crushed, and torn open packages. The vast majority of DPO packages we receive are totally mangled. We've had to return items multiple times due to damage, including liquids that spoiled and grew mold because the package had taken so long to finally arrive. 2) On average, it takes 4 weeks for DPO items to arrive. However, some have taken as short as one week (hooray!) and many, many more have stretched to 6+ weeks. 3) Click N Ship doesn't work for the majority of people at post. It's virtually impossible to send anything back to the U.S. - returns, or otherwise. 4) Finally, I know USPS can't control which vendors will ship to DPO and which won't, but lately, the vast majority of my orders on Amazon won't ship to the DPO address. No idea why - they are not prohibited items, and sometimes can even be sent to Pouch instead (if not liquids). But still, it seems random and has become more pronounced in recent months. I would like to echo earlier statements: I am incredibly grateful to be able to receive mail through the US postal service while I am serving overseas. The positive impact on the quality of my life and that of my family cannot be over-stated. The mail room staff at post are dedicated, professional and very knowledgeable. I hope that USPS can make appropriate changes to improve the DPO service for the individuals and families who continue to serve in difficult environments.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for your appreciation of the DPO service and we are sorry for the service issues. We are looking at those issues as part of our review and a team member will be circling back to you for additional information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I appreciate the query about experiences with the DPO/APO system, of which I have been a beneficiary /user of for nearly 20 years. In the last few years I have experienced uptick in problems. --- multiple of my packages, all US-originated, have been mis-sent to incorrect post offices. This has resulted in delays of 2-4 months in receiving my packages. -- in two of the instances of mis-sent mail, my packages arrived with the packaging only; contents had clearly been removed/stolen and the packages resealed. When I told the post office this was evidence of thieves in the USPS system, I was told I could file a complaint if I so chose, but I should not do so if I had other recourse. I reported the loss to the sending company and they simply resent the items. While this resolved my complaint, the theft was never addressed. For the record here - the items in question were mis-sent to Baghdad. --my packages often arrive looking like they have been kicked up and down the length of a rain-drenched football field. I tell everyone who is going to send me a flat rate box to a) never include anything of value, it's liable to be stolen, and b) always package REALLY well with plastic and tape because otherwise the contents of the box will be decimated. --and even if my mail arrives unbeaten and unstolen, it still takes a minimum of 3 weeks. I appreciate that we get to have this service; but I believe both its quality and reliability have gone significantly down in the past 3 or so years.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Anne, thanks for your appreciation of the DPO/APO service and we are sorry for the service quality and reliability issues. We are looking at delayed, missent, and lost/stolen mailings as part of our review and a team member will be circling back to you for additional information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I'm at a diplomatic post overseas, and packages inbound from the U.S. are frequently damaged, crushed, or torn open, about 75% of the time. While it usually take about 3 weeks for items to get here, which is already pretty long, items are routinely misrouted to other posts and it can take 2 months or longer to get them here in Jerusalem, if they arrive at all. This is absolutely unacceptable. Vendors send the packages properly to the DPO address, but then they go into a black hole for weeks before they get here in terrible condition. I appreciate any help from OIG in addressing this.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Peter, thanks for the posting and sorry for the service issues. We are looking at those issues as part of our review and a team member will be circling back to you for additional information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I appreciate the fast shipping through DPO where, if the timing is right, it only takes a week to get to me at post. However, in the past year I have seen more mishandled mail than I have in the last 20 years of my career. Packages most often have ended up on a US Navy carrier which means they are a month delayed. And at least once a month or more I receive a package that looks like it has been stepped on and the contents are spilling out - most recently with a bag of cinnamon!

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Thanks for the posting and we are sorry for the service issues. A cinnamon covered package does not sound pleasant. We are looking at delayed, missent, and damaged mail as part of our review. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Overall DPO is an excellent resource and much appreciated. Our local team is fantastic and we appreciate the annual reminders regarding holidays schedules and such. In order to make a great service and benefit even better, I would urge attention to the damage issue that has been raised by others. Also, at times click and ship becomes convoluted to use and has payment issues with credit cards. Finally, oddly enough, it seems that outfits like amazon are wholesale refusing to ship electronic items, even if allowed by the rules. Seems odd they'd ship coffee beans, but not an electric razor. Same customs rules and such as far as I know. This may not be a USPS issue - but perhaps could be discussed with merchants. Finally, I understand from our team that work on how to track packages in ILMS would be welcome, in order to help rectify misroutings earlier int he process.

    Feb 07, 2019
  • anon

    Dean, thanks for your insights and suggestions, particularly your appreciation for the great service provided by your local team. Regarding the other issues you raised, we are looking into them as part of our review and a team member will be circling back to you for more information. The Audit Team

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    In the almost 10 years I've used DPO or APO mail, these last two years seem to have been the worst in terms of damaged mail. Honestly, the best packed packages seem to get stomped on and literally smashed down. I have had canned food smashed to the point of breaking open the seal of canned food. I cannot reason how some of my packages are actually as damaged as they are.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    Marcy, we plan on looking at damaged mail as part of our review. Thanks for your posting, and sorry about those service issues. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    THANKS.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    Here in Jakarta, there have been increasing incidents of late, damaged, even totally lost, mail. Two pieces of mail were lost. They were routed from Chicago to an APO in San Francisco and were never heard of again. I contacted the military mail customer service, and it was useless. The quality of service has declined significantly in the last six months. This refers to international outbound mail.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    J., thanks for the posting, and sorry about those service issues. We plan on looking at mis-routed/missent, damaged, delayed, and lost mail as part of our review. A team member will be reaching out to you for additional information. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    We have mail international inbound (coming into the U.S) and international outbound (going out of the U.S.) What issues caused the negative experiences?: The negative experiences most always deal with damaged items. Not just damaged items inside the box but boxes look destroyed on the outside!! It obviously appears to us that boxes aren't carefully taken care of in route! Thrown around, dropped from high heights, kicked, smashed, heavy items thrown on top of, I'm not sure what's but boxes are coming to us demolished and arriving to family in the US demolished. Amazon boxes are the ones that come fine the majority of the time. Also items being shipped DPO from companies come in boxes that are way to big for the items. Therefore items have too much space to move around and are therefore damaged. Items should be in appropriate boxes especially for DPO/APO addresses going long distances. What things, if any, could the Postal Service do to enhance its military and/or diplomatic mail service? Take care of the boxes! Better packaging inside of boxes extra bubble wrap, correct box sizes (no excess space for items to move and get broken) for DPO/APO long distance shipping.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    Colleen, we plan on looking at damaged mail as part of our review. Thanks for your posting and suggestions. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    The DPO is an appreciated and necessary service. Sometimes the mail arrives in Warsaw very quickly between 4 days and 2 weeks, however. Every month about 10% of my packages are routed incorrectly and takes more than a month to arrive. Approximately 30% of my packages arrive mangled. Like they've been run over repeatedly with a truck. Lost and mangled packages are bound to happen with the significant volume of mail but I hope something can be done to reduce the number of lost and mishandled packages.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    Nicole, thanks for the posting, and sorry about those service issues. We plan on looking at lost and mishandled packages as part of our review. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I am at Karachi Pakistan Consulate. Postal services are excellent. Staff in the Consulate Postal center are very helpful. Thanks.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    Mark, thanks for the posting, it’s always great to hear these success stories. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    I don't know what has happened, but I have a large quantity of flat mail that I know was sent in October, November and December -- things from my banks, things from my credit card companies, my People magazines, a few other magazines, and several DVDs from SAG-AFTRA or the SAG Awards. I am disappointed with the loss of the People magazines because I am paying for them. I am a bit concerned about the other mail because it has personal information in it. I am very upset with the lost DVDs because those can be pirated and they are coded to me and I will be blamed. This is my first time using DPO. I don't know who to talk with to try to find these items. Every time I talk to the Mail Room here at post, they just shrug their shoulders. Needless to say, I am pretty unhappy.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    Joanne, thanks for the posting, and sorry about those service issues. We plan on looking at mis-routed/missent, damaged, delayed, and lost mail as part of our review. A team member will be reaching out to you for additional information. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    The Chicaco processing facility for DPO mail is THE WORST. it has been months since i had any package pass through that facility without being damaged or, more commonly, misdirected multiple times to the wrong DPO. almost EVERY package in the last 3-4 months has been misdirected and delayed by weeks. i have absolutely ZERO confidence that my packages / mail going to / through the Chicago facility will arrive on time or undamaged.

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    Theresa, thanks for the posting, and sorry about those service issues. We plan on looking at mis-routed/missent, damaged, delayed, and lost mail as part of our review. A team member will be reaching out to you for additional information. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019
  • anon

    Overall, we have had a positive experience using DPO for the past 10+ years. We very much appreciate this service! That being said, I have noticed in the past year that many more packages than usual are misrouted or lost. Most of them have eventually been delivered, but they arrive quite late or badly damaged (one example being a birthday gift for my young son that arrived a month late, soaking wet, and mangled- we tried to salvage what we could, but most of it had to be thrown out).

    Feb 06, 2019
  • anon

    We plan on looking at mis-routed/missent, damaged, delayed, and lost mail as part of our review. J.B. (USPS OIG)

    Feb 08, 2019

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