B-161043, APR. 26, 1967

B-161043: Apr 26, 1967

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 67-7 BY THE PER DIEM. THE UNDER SECRETARY POINTS OUT THAT WHEN A MEMBER IS ASSIGNED TO A RESTRICTED OVERSEAS STATION TO WHICH SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS PROHIBITED. IS NOT AUTHORIZED PRIOR TO THE REMOVAL OF THE RESTRICTION. HE SAYS FURTHER THAT CURRENT SITUATIONS HAVE INCREASED AND INTENSIFIED THE NUMBER AND DEGREE OF MORALE AND FINANCIAL HARDSHIP PROBLEMS WHICH ARISE IN THE MILITARY SERVICES WHEN DEPENDENTS. ARE UNABLE TO ESTABLISH A RESIDENCE AS INTENDED AT THE DESIGNATED LOCATION. IN ORDER TO ALLEVIATE THIS SITUATION IT IS PROPOSED TO AMEND THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO AUTHORIZE THE RESHIPMENT OR STORAGE.

B-161043, APR. 26, 1967

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1967, FROM THE UNDER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER CHAPTER 8 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOLUME 1, MAY BE AMENDED SO AS TO AUTHORIZE IN CERTAIN CASES, RESHIPMENT AND/OR NONTEMPORARY STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS, FROM A DESIGNATED LOCATION TO WHICH AUTHORIZED SHIPMENT HAD BEEN MADE INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS TO A RESTRICTED STATION. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 67-7 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

THE UNDER SECRETARY POINTS OUT THAT WHEN A MEMBER IS ASSIGNED TO A RESTRICTED OVERSEAS STATION TO WHICH SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS PROHIBITED, PARAGRAPH M8253-2B, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AUTHORIZES SHIPMENT TO A DESIGNATED LOCATION IN THE UNITED STATES, PUERTO RICO, ALASKA, HAWAII, OR ANY TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES, SHIPMENT TO THE POINT OF DEPARTURE FROM THE UNITED STATES IN CONJUNCTION WITH SHIPMENT TO A PLACE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES DESIGNATED BY THE MEMBER, OR SHIPMENT OF A PORTION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THOSE POINTS AND OF THE REMAINDER TO NONTEMPORARY STORAGE. FURTHER MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, HOWEVER, IS NOT AUTHORIZED PRIOR TO THE REMOVAL OF THE RESTRICTION, TRANSFER TO AN UNRESTRICTED STATION, OR THE ISSUANCE OF APPROPRIATE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS.

THE UNDER SECRETARY SAYS THAT CIRCUMSTANCES FREQUENTLY ARISE AT A DESTINATION SUBSEQUENT TO SHIPMENT THERETO BUT PRIOR TO ACCEPTANCE OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS, THROUGH NO FAULT OF THE MEMBER OR HIS DEPENDENTS, WHICH PRECLUDE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT THE PLACE ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED. HE SAYS FURTHER THAT CURRENT SITUATIONS HAVE INCREASED AND INTENSIFIED THE NUMBER AND DEGREE OF MORALE AND FINANCIAL HARDSHIP PROBLEMS WHICH ARISE IN THE MILITARY SERVICES WHEN DEPENDENTS, BECAUSE OF DEATH, ILLNESS, AND OTHER VALID REASONS, ARE UNABLE TO ESTABLISH A RESIDENCE AS INTENDED AT THE DESIGNATED LOCATION.

IN ORDER TO ALLEVIATE THIS SITUATION IT IS PROPOSED TO AMEND THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO AUTHORIZE THE RESHIPMENT OR STORAGE, OR A COMBINATION THEREOF, OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS PREVIOUSLY SHIPPED TO A DESIGNATED LOCATION INCIDENT TO THE MEMBER'S ASSIGNMENT TO A RESTRICTED AREA, BUT NOT ACCEPTED BY DEPENDENTS AT DESTINATION FOR VALID REASONS, PRIOR TO FURTHER ACTION ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH WOULD AUTOMATICALLY AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM A DESIGNATED LOCATION. THE UNDER SECRETARY SUGGESTS THAT THE PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. 406 (E) RELATING TO SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS UNDER UNUSUAL AND EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES WITHOUT REGARD TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS ARE BROAD ENOUGH TO SUPPORT THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT IN ALL CASES WHERE IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT SUCH RESHIPMENT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.

SECTION 406 (E) OF TITLE 37 OF THE CODE PROVIDES THAT WHEN ORDERS DIRECTING A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FOR THE MEMBER CONCERNED HAVE NOT BEEN ISSUED, OR WHEN THEY HAVE BEEN ISSUED BUT CANNOT BE USED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED MAY AUTHORIZE THE MOVEMENT OF THE DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND PRESCRIBE TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, OR A MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN PLACE THEREOF, IN CASES INVOLVING UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES INCLUDING THOSE IN WHICH THE MEMBER IS SERVING ON PERMANENT DUTY AT STATIONS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, IN HAWAII OR ALASKA, OR ON SEA DUTY.

SECTION 406 (E) WAS DERIVED WITHOUT SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE FROM SECTION 303 (E) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, CH. 681 63 STAT. 814. IN OUR DECISION OF JULY 16, 1958, 38 COMP. GEN. 28, WE CONSIDERED THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303 (C) OF THE 1949 ACT UNDER WHICH THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED COULD, IN UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES, AUTHORIZE THE MOVEMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF THE DEPENDENTS AND BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A MEMBER WHEN ORDERS DIRECTING A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION FOR THE MEMBER HAVE NOT BEEN ISSUED, OR WHEN SUCH ORDERS HAVE BEEN ISSUED BUT CANNOT BE USED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS.

IN THE DECISION OF JULY 16, 1958, WE EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT BASICALLY THE STATUTE AUTHORIZED THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED TO ISSUE REGULATIONS PROVIDING FOR THE EARLY RETURN OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MEMBERS FROM OVERSEAS LOCATIONS ONLY BECAUSE OF ACTUAL CONDITIONS OF AN EMERGENCY NATURE ARISING AT OVERSEAS DUTY STATIONS WHICH JUSTIFIED SUCH RETURN AND WHICH GENERALLY COULD NOT ARISE, OR ARE MOST UNLIKELY TO ARISE IN THE CASE OF MEMBERS SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES. WHILE RECOGNIZING THAT SERIOUS ILLNESS OF DEPENDENTS RESIDING IN OVERSEAS AREAS MIGHT, IN CERTAIN CASES, BE WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE LAW, WE SAID THAT IT WAS NOT CLEAR FROM THE LANGUAGE OF THE ACT, OR THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, THAT CONGRESS, IN ENACTING THE STATUTE, INTENDED TO AUTHORIZE THE ADVANCE RETURN AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MEMBERS ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS MERELY BECAUSE THE MEMBER ENCOUNTERS FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES, HAS MARITAL TROUBLES, DESIRES TO RETURN DEPENDENTS TO THE UNITED STATES TO ATTEND SCHOOL, OR BECAUSE OF ILLNESS OR DEATH OF RELATIVES, ETC. IN THIS REGARD WE HAD PREVIOUSLY HELD THAT CONDITIONS OF A PERSONAL NATURE SUCH AS FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES, ILLNESS OR DEATH OF RELATIVES, INADEQUATE EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE STATUTE. SEE B- 126678, SEPTEMBER 4, 1956; B-130385, FEBRUARY 15, 1957; B-126196, DECEMBER 7, 1955; AND B-130184, JANUARY 10, 1957.

SUBSEQUENTLY, THE AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN SITUATIONS WHERE CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS HAD NOT BEEN ISSUED, WAS ENLARGED BY THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 88-431 (NOW 37 U.S.C. 406 (H) ( AUTHORIZING THE RETURN OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM OVERSEAS TO THE UNITED STATES WHEN THE SECRETARY CONCERNED DETERMINES IT TO BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE MEMBER OR HIS DEPENDENTS AND THE UNITED STATES. THE LATER PROVISIONS ENCOMPASS IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS CONDITIONS OF A PERSONAL NATURE; HOWEVER, NO CHANGE WAS EFFECTED IN THE LANGUAGE OF 37 U.S.C. 406 (E) WHICH MAY BE VIEWED AS ENLARGING THE SCOPE OF ITS PROVISIONS.

THUS, THE PRESENT PROPOSAL WOULD AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FOR REASONS WHICH HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN VIEWED AS NOT COVERED BY THE PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. 406 (E). IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES AND SINCE WE FIND NOTHING IN THE LANGUAGE OF THAT SECTION, OR IN ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, WHICH MAY BE VIEWED AS REFLECTING AN INTENT ON THE PART OF CONGRESS IN ENACTING THE SECTION TO AUTHORIZE ANY FURTHER TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHEN SUCH EFFECTS HAVE BEEN SHIPPED TO A DESIGNATED LOCATION INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY PRESENT LAW.