B-114949, B-120726, APR. 26, 1956

B-114949,B-120726: Apr 26, 1956

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SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER OF FEBRUARY 24. ALL PAYMENTS ARE SAID TO HAVE INVOLVED A PERIOD. BETWEEN THE TIME THE MEMBER WAS AUTHORIZED TO HAVE HIS DEPENDENTS TRANSPORTED OVERSEAS AND THE TIME THE DEPENDENTS ACTUALLY ARRIVED AT THE OVERSEAS STATION OR. THAT THE PAYMENTS WERE BASED ON DETERMINATIONS MADE BY THE COMMANDER CONCERNED THAT GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR MESSING FACILITIES WERE NOT AVAILABLE TO THOSE MEMBERS. IT IS REPORTED THAT WHEN THE CHATEAUROUX DEPOT WAS ACTIVATED EARLY IN 1951. GOVERNMENT HOUSING FACILITIES WERE AVAILABLE ONLY FOR A FEW OFFICERS AND THAT SOME MEMBERS WITH DEPENDENTS WERE FURNISHED QUARTERS IN A HOTEL UNTIL PERMANENT TYPE HOUSING COULD BE OBTAINED.

B-114949, B-120726, APR. 26, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE, SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER OF FEBRUARY 24, 1956, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT), REQUESTING REMOVAL OF SEVERAL HUNDRED NOTICES OF EXCEPTION TO PAYMENTS OF STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AND BASIC ALLOWANCES FOR QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE MADE BETWEEN APRIL 1, 1951, AND OCTOBER 31, 1953, TO PERSONNEL STATIONED AT NOUASSEUR, FRENCH MOROCCO, AND AT CHATEAUROUX AND FONTAINBLEAU, FRANCE, ON THE BASIS OF INFORMATION DISCLOSED IN A STUDY MADE BY THE CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. AIR FORCE, OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING SUCH PAYMENTS.

ALL PAYMENTS ARE SAID TO HAVE INVOLVED A PERIOD, OR A PORTION OF A PERIOD, BETWEEN THE TIME THE MEMBER WAS AUTHORIZED TO HAVE HIS DEPENDENTS TRANSPORTED OVERSEAS AND THE TIME THE DEPENDENTS ACTUALLY ARRIVED AT THE OVERSEAS STATION OR, IN A FEW CASES WHERE FOR A VALID REASON THE DEPENDENTS FAILED TO ARRIVE AT THE OVERSEAS STATION, A REASONABLE TIME AFTER THE MEMBER RECEIVED THE AUTHORIZATION TO TRANSPORT HIS DEPENDENTS; AND THAT THE PAYMENTS WERE BASED ON DETERMINATIONS MADE BY THE COMMANDER CONCERNED THAT GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR MESSING FACILITIES WERE NOT AVAILABLE TO THOSE MEMBERS.

AS TO THE SITUATION AT CHATEAUROUX, IT IS REPORTED THAT WHEN THE CHATEAUROUX DEPOT WAS ACTIVATED EARLY IN 1951, GOVERNMENT HOUSING FACILITIES WERE AVAILABLE ONLY FOR A FEW OFFICERS AND THAT SOME MEMBERS WITH DEPENDENTS WERE FURNISHED QUARTERS IN A HOTEL UNTIL PERMANENT TYPE HOUSING COULD BE OBTAINED. MOST MEMBERS WERE HOUSED IN TENT TYPE QUARTERS DESCRIBED AS FAR INFERIOR TO THOSE GENERALLY PROVIDED. THE MESS WAS LOCATED IN AN AIRCRAFT HANGER AND BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE HEATING FACILITIES AND DISTANCE FROM LIVING QUARTERS, IT WAS REGARDED AS MOST UNSATISFACTORY. EXTREMELY CROWDED CONDITIONS APPEAR TO HAVE EXISTED AT SUCH MESS. THE CIRCUMSTANCES AT NOUASSEUR ARE DESCRIBED AS BEING ALMOST IDENTICAL WITH THOSE AT CHATEAUROUX. WHILE PERMANENT TYPE BUILDINGS WERE AVAILABLE AT FONTAINBLEAU, THEY WERE IN SUCH CONDITION AS TO REQUIRE MAJOR MODIFICATIONS AND REPAIRS. WHILE THIS WORK WAS BEING DONE, THE PORTION AVAILABLE FOR OCCUPANCY WAS SO CROWDED THAT SPACE ADEQUATE FOR HOUSING 16 AIRMEN WAS OCCUPIED BY FROM 28 TO 30. THE MESS LIKEWISE WAS DEEMED TO BE INADEQUATE FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE COMMAND.

SUBSECTIONS (A) AND (B) OF SECTION 302 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 812, PROVIDE IN GENERAL THAT MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ENTITLED TO RECEIVE BASIC PAY SHALL BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE A BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS EXCEPT THAT SUCH ALLOWANCE SHALL NOT ACCRUE TO MEMBERS ASSIGNED TO GOVERNMENT QUARTERS, OR HOUSING FACILITIES UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, APPROPRIATE TO THEIR RANK, GRADE OR RATING AND ADEQUATE FOR THEMSELVES AND DEPENDENTS, IF WITH DEPENDENTS. IN ADDITION, THE ACT GOES ON IN SECTION 303 (B) TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARIES TO MAKE PAYMENT TO MEMBERS ON DUTY OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES OR IN ALASKA, WHETHER OR NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS, OF A PER DIEM CONSIDERING ALL ELEMENTS OF COST OF LIVING TO MEMBERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, INCLUDING THE COST OF QUARTERS, SUBSISTENCE, AND NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES, EXCEPT THAT DEPENDENTS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING PER DIEM ALLOWANCES FOR MEMBERS IN A TRAVEL STATUS.

PARAGRAPH 4300, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDED AT THE TIME HERE INVOLVED THAT THE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AT RATES UNIFORMLY ESTABLISHED BY THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WOULD BE PAID TO MEMBERS PERMANENTLY ASSIGNED TO DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES OR IN ALASKA UPON THE COMMANDING OR OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICER'S CERTIFICATION AS TO THE NONAVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR GOVERNMENT MESS. PARAGRAPH 4301-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDED THAT A MEMBER WHOSE DEPENDENTS DID NOT RESIDE WITH HIM AT OR IN THE VICINITY OF HIS DUTY STATION WOULD BE REGARDED AS A MEMBER WITHOUT DEPENDENTS. THE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AS INITIALLY ESTABLISHED MADE NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN MEMBERS WITH DEPENDENTS AND MEMBERS WITHOUT DEPENDENTS. EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1952, HOWEVER, SEPARATE RATES FOR MEMBERS WITH AND MEMBERS WITHOUT DEPENDENTS WERE FIXED.

PARAGRAPH 4303, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDED THAT WHEN FIRST ASSIGNED TO AN OVERSEAS STATION, AND UPON SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER FROM ONE FOREIGN DUTY STATION TO ANOTHER REQUIRING A CHANGE IN RESIDENCE, A MEMBER WHO WAS NOT FURNISHED GOVERNMENT QUARTERS SHOULD BE ENTITLED FOR THE FIRST 45 DAYS AFTER ARRIVAL AT A STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE EQUAL TO THE TRAVEL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE EQUAL TO THE TRAVEL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT SHOULD GOVERNMENT QUARTERS BE ASSIGNED OR PERMANENT HOUSING OBTAINED DURING SUCH 45-DAY PERIOD THE ALLOWANCE AT THE TRAVEL PER DIEM RATE WOULD CEASE TO BE PAYABLE.

THE AUDIT EXCEPTIONS TO WHICH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REFERS WERE TAKEN ON THE BASIS THAT EXISTING QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES AT THE STATIONS INVOLVED WERE ADEQUATE, OR READILY EXPANDABLE TO THE DEGREE NECESSARY TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE TROOPS ASSIGNED THERE. AFTER FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN THE LIGHT OF THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES NOW SHOWN, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY COVER PAYMENTS WHICH ARE SUPPORTED BY PROPER CERTIFICATIONS AS TO NONAVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES, AND WHICH ARE OTHERWISE PROPERLY FOR ALLOWANCE, THESE EXCEPTIONS SHOULD BE REMOVED.

IT WOULD APPEAR, HOWEVER, THAT THERE ARE INSTANCES INVOLVED IN WHICH MEMBERS WHOSE DEPENDENTS HAD NOT ARRIVED AT THEIR DUTY STATIONS BY MARCH 1, 1952, THE DATE SEPARATE RATES WERE PRESCRIBED FOR MEMBERS WITH AND MEMBERS WITHOUT DEPENDENTS, CONTINUED TO RECEIVE, OR RECEIVED, THE STATION PER DIEM AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED FOR MEMBERS WITH DEPENDENTS RESIDING AT THEIR OVERSEAS STATIONS. ALSO, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IN SOME CASES, CONTRARY TO THE LIMITATIONS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 4303, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, MEMBERS WERE PAID STATION PER DIEM AT THE TRAVEL RATE AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE FIRST 45 DAYS FOLLOWING THEIR ARRIVAL AT THE FOREIGN STATION, OR FOR DAYS WITHIN THIS 45-DAY PERIOD AFTER THEY OBTAINED PRIVATE QUARTERS WHICH THEY SUBSEQUENTLY OCCUPIED WITH THEIR DEPENDENTS, WHICH QUARTERS MUST BE REGARDED AS PERMANENT HOUSING WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAST CITED REGULATION, AND THUS SERVED TO BAR FURTHER PAYMENT OF STATION ALLOWANCE AT PER DIEM TRAVEL RATES. TO THE EXTENT THAT THE EXCEPTIONS IN QUESTION COVER UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENTS AS INDICATED ABOVE THEY WILL BE CONTINUED.