By Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (May 15, 2023) — Service members getting ready for a move will need to look a little more closely at their battery-operated household goods starting on May 15, when a new Department of Defense policy takes effect.

The policy places limitations on certain lithium batteries, when included as part of a service member’s personal property shipment, due to the potential for “chemical, flammable and electrical hazards” they pose, according to Daniel Mayfield, with the Movements Branch of the Fort Leonard Wood Personal Property and Passenger Travel Office.

The policy affects two common types of lithium batteries, Mayfield said.

Lithium metal batteries are usually found in items, such as cameras, watches, remote controls and handheld games. They are non-rechargeable, and come in various shapes, including cylindrical and button. Lithium-ion batteries are found in items, such as cellphones, power tools, laptops and robot vacuums.

Mayfield said the size, type, serviceability and quantity of the batteries are factors to consider, as not all will be prohibited by the new policy. Lithium-ion batteries rated at 100 watt-hours or less (20 watt-hours or less per lithium-ion cell), and lithium metal batteries containing 2 grams or less of lithium content (1 gram or less per lithium metal cell) will be allowed, assuming they are not damaged and are in working order.

The stated limits are unrelated to the total number of lithium batteries allowed in a shipment, Mayfield stressed.

“For example, shipping two lithium-ion batteries at 50 watt-hours (each) does not mean you have met your lithium battery limit,” Mayfield said. “You could have three, four lithium-ion batteries each at 75 watt-hours. They would all be allowed because they are under the lithium-ion battery limit of 100 watt-hours.”

In addition to restrictions on shipping lithium batteries, Mayfield said airlines that do allow these batteries limit them to two per shipment at the above size limitations.

Mayfield asked individuals to identify all lithium batteries in their household goods ahead of the packing date — and ideally, have them removed from devices for the movers. Identifying these batteries and their watt-hours or total grams of lithium content is usually as simple as looking for certain identifying marks and numbers on the product or battery.

“The manufacturer of the battery will usually identify on the battery that it’s lithium with the words ‘lithium battery,’ or you may see the symbol ‘Li,’” Mayfield said. “If the battery isn’t identified with the words ‘lithium battery’ on it, then you can refer to your owner’s manual for that particular item to try to identify if the battery is lithium or not.”

The watt-hour rating is sometimes also printed on the battery, Mayfield said.

“If not, you can take the volts and multiply by ampere-hours to determine watt-hours,” he said. “If the battery has milliampere, often written as mAh, divide the mAh by 1,000. For example, a lithium-ion battery with 3,500 mAh would be equal to 3.5 ampere-hours. For lithium metal, you would take the ampere-hours and multiply by .3 to get the lithium content.”

If a battery can’t be identified as lithium, then the mover is not required to pack it, Mayfield added, and lithium batteries over the size limit are prohibited from being shipped in personal property at government expense.

“You will have to find alternative methods at your expense of getting them to your destination or properly dispose of them,” Mayfield said, noting used or damaged lithium batteries may be taken to the off-post City of St. Robert Transfer Station, located at 3 J.H. Williamson Jr. Dr. in St. Robert. Call 573.336.5155 for details.

The new policy also covers storage situations, Mayfield said. All types and sizes of lithium battery are prohibited from long-term, non-temporary storage. They are allowed in short-term, in-transit temporary storage, however.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are unaffected by this policy. The contractor that ships and stores vehicles for service members here confirmed they will continue to store these types of vehicles, and ship them, as long as there are no restrictions in the destination country, Mayfield said.

Call 573.596.0077 or 6977, or visit the Fort Leonard Wood website for more information.

Mayfield also recommended Soldiers here download the My Army PCS App for their smart phones. The app is customizable and can help individuals better prepare for their permanent change of station, with information on entitlements, types of moves, resources and the claims process. The app is available in the Google Play and Apple stores.

Under a new Department of Defense policy that goes into effect on Monday, certain lithium batteries will no longer be able to be shipped or stored with a service member’s personal property. Lithium-ion batteries rated at 100 watt-hours or less (20 watt-hours or less per lithium-ion cell), and lithium metal batteries containing 2 grams or less of lithium content (1 gram or less per lithium metal cell) will be allowed, assuming they are not damaged and are in working order. (Photo by Brian Hill, Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office)














About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 80 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains nearly 80,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps Detachment and Air Force Squadron on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: