B-169098, APRIL 14, 1970, 49 COMP. GEN. 695

B-169098: Apr 14, 1970

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RESHIPMENT OF EFFECTS WITHOUT A STATION CHANGE WHEN A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER OVERSEAS IS AUTHORIZED THE MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. HIS DEPENDENTS ARE UNABLE TO JOIN HIM BECAUSE OF ILLNESS OR OTHER PERSONAL REASONS. HIS TOUR IS CHANGED TO AN UNACCOMPANIED TOUR. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 70-75 BY THE PER DIEM. A COPY OF WHICH WAS ENCLOSED WITH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER. ALSO WOULD PROVIDE FOR SUBSEQUENT RETURN TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THE OVERSEAS STATION WHEN ENTRY APPROVAL FOR DEPENDENTS IS AGAIN GRANTED. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT IT IS A COMMON PRACTICE FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ORDERED TO OVERSEAS DUTY TO INITIATE SHIPMENT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT OF APPROVAL OF THEIR DEPENDENTS' ENTRY INTO THE AREA OF THE MEMBER'S OVERSEAS DUTY STATION.

B-169098, APRIL 14, 1970, 49 COMP. GEN. 695

TRANSPORTATION -- HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS -- MILITARY PERSONNEL -- RESHIPMENT OF EFFECTS WITHOUT A STATION CHANGE WHEN A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER OVERSEAS IS AUTHORIZED THE MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, BUT AFTER SHIPMENT OF THE EFFECTS, HIS DEPENDENTS ARE UNABLE TO JOIN HIM BECAUSE OF ILLNESS OR OTHER PERSONAL REASONS, AND HIS TOUR IS CHANGED TO AN UNACCOMPANIED TOUR, THE RETURN OF THE MEMBER'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM THE OVERSEAS DUTY STATION TO A DESIGNATED PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES, ALASKA, HAWAII, PUERTO RICO, OR A TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE U.S. MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED. THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A MEMBER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 406(B) ONLY IN CONNECTION WITH A DUTY STATION CHANGE, EXCEPT IN UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES (SUBSECTION 406 (E)) OR IF IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE MEMBER, HIS DEPENDENTS, OR THE UNITED STATES (SUBSECTION 406(H)).

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, APRIL 14, 1970:

BY LETTER OF JANUARY 14, 1970, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) REQUESTED A DECISION WHETHER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 8, MAY BE AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR RETURN OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM AN OVERSEAS STATION TO A DESIGNATED PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES, ALASKA, HAWAII, PUERTO RICO, OR A TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN THE DEPENDENTS FOR PERSONAL REASONS DO NOT JOIN THE MEMBER AT HIS OVERSEAS STATION. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 70-75 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

THE PROPOSED REGULATION, A COPY OF WHICH WAS ENCLOSED WITH THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER, ALSO WOULD PROVIDE FOR SUBSEQUENT RETURN TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THE OVERSEAS STATION WHEN ENTRY APPROVAL FOR DEPENDENTS IS AGAIN GRANTED, PROVIDED THAT AT LEAST 12 MONTHS REMAIN IN THE MEMBER'S TOUR OF DUTY ON THE SCHEDULED DATE OF ARRIVAL OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT IT IS A COMMON PRACTICE FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ORDERED TO OVERSEAS DUTY TO INITIATE SHIPMENT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT OF APPROVAL OF THEIR DEPENDENTS' ENTRY INTO THE AREA OF THE MEMBER'S OVERSEAS DUTY STATION. THE DEPENDENTS, HOWEVER, DO NOT COMMENCE TRAVEL UNTIL SOME TIME LATER IN ORDER TO COORDINATE THEIR ARRIVAL WITH THE ARRIVAL OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS. BECAUSE OF THIS PRACTICE, IT IS SAID THAT SITUATIONS FREQUENTLY ARISE WHERE, PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF TRAVEL BY THE DEPENDENTS, BUT SUBSEQUENT TO SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS, DEPENDENTS BECOME ILL OR FOR SOME OTHER REASON ARE NOT ABLE TO JOIN THE MEMBER AT HIS OVERSEAS DUTY STATION.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT WHEN THIS HAPPENS THE DEPENDENTS' ENTRY APPROVAL IS CANCELED, AND THE MEMBER'S TOUR IS CHANGED TO "ALL OTHERS" (UNACCOMPANIED TOUR). HE SAYS THE VIEW HAS BEEN EXPRESSED THAT THIS SITUATION IS SIMILAR TO THAT WHERE A MEMBER'S OVERSEAS DUTY STATION IS CHANGED FROM "UNRESTRICTED" TO "RESTRICTED" AND THE MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO HAVE HIS DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSPORTED TO A DESIGNATED PLACE.

IN THE SITUATION DISCUSSED IN THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER THERE IS NO RESTRICTION ON THE MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS TO THE MEMBER'S STATION AND THE REASONS WHY THE DEPENDENTS ARE NOT AT HIS STATION ARE PURELY PERSONAL. THE CONVERSION OF HIS TOUR FROM A WITH-DEPENDENTS TOUR TO AN ALL-OTHERS TOUR--A CONVERSION WHICH WE UNDERSTAND ORDINARILY IS BASED ON THE ELECTION OF THE MEMBER AND WHICH, WITHIN PRESCRIBED TIME LIMITATIONS, MAY BE RECONVERTED TO A WITH-DEPENDENTS TOUR--DOES NOT IN OUR OPINION PLACE THE MEMBER IN A SITUATION SIMILAR TO THAT OF A MEMBER WHOSE OVERSEAS STATION IS CHANGED FROM UNRESTRICTED TO RESTRICTED REQUIRING THE INVOLUNTARY EVACUATION OF DEPENDENTS.

EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTIONS 406(E) AND 406(H) OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE AUTHORIZED ONLY IN CONNECTION WITH A CHANGE OF THE MEMBER'S STATION. 37 U.S.C. 406(B).

SECTIONS 406(E) AND 406(H) OF TITLE 37 OF THE CODE PROVIDE THAT WHEN PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS HAVE NOT BEEN ISSUED, OR WHEN ORDERS HAVE BEEN ISSUED BUT CANNOT BE USED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES MAY AUTHORIZE THE MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER CERTAIN PRESCRIBED CONDITIONS. THE AUTHORITY PROVIDED BY SECTION 406(E) MAY BE USED ONLY UNDER UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES. THE AUTHORITY PROVIDED BY SECTION 406(H) MAY BE USED ONLY IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER ON DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES OR IN HAWAII OR ALASKA WHEN IT IS DETERMINED TO BE IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE MEMBER OR HIS DEPENDENTS AND THE UNITED STATES TO MOVE THE MEMBER'S DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS "AT THAT STATION" TO AN APPROPRIATE LOCATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR ITS POSSESSIONS.

THE NEED TO CHANGE A MEMBER'S STATION FROM UNRESTRICTED TO RESTRICTED, THEREBY REQUIRING THE REMOVAL OF HIS DEPENDENTS FROM THE STATION, WOULD ORDINARILY APPEAR TO RESULT FROM CIRCUMSTANCES OF AN UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY NATURE REQUIRING THE EVACUATION OF DEPENDENTS FROM THE STATION. CONSEQUENTLY, SECTION 406(E) HAS BEEN CONSIDERED AS PROVIDING AUTHORITY FOR THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN CHAPTER 7 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN SUCH CASES. IN CASES COMING UNDER SECTION 406(E), HOWEVER, THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS HAS BEEN VIEWED AS BEING CONTINGENT ON AN AUTHORIZATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS. SEE PARAGRAPHS M8301, M8302 AND M8303 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ONLY HAS NOT BEEN AUTHORIZED.

IN DECISION OF MARCH 22, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 574, CONCERNING THE SCOPE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 406(H) WE AGREED WITH THE VIEW REFLECTED BY THE REGULATIONS THAT SECTION 406(E) DID NOT PROVIDE AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INDEPENDENTLY OF THE MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS. AND, ON THE BASIS OF THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SECTION 406(H), WE CONCLUDED THAT UNDER THOSE PROVISIONS THE ADVANCE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INDEPENDENTLY OF THE MOVEMENT OF DEPENDENTS LIKEWISE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED.

IN OUR OPINION, THEREFORE, THERE IS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR THE PROPOSED CHANGE TO THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.