Inquiry Concerning Authority of Military Services To Provide Support for Private Associations

B-202558: Jul 8, 1982

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GAO was asked about the authority of the military services to provide support for private associations, such as the Boy Scouts, recognized national veterans' organizations, and military-related associations. Aside from certain engineering and communications assistance provided for the 10th National Scout Jamboree of the Boy Scouts, the precise nature of the questioned military support to these private associations was not described. In general, the Department of Defense (DOD) is authorized by statute to provide services, including engineering and communications services, to the Boy Scouts on a nonreimbursable basis, payable out of the regular operational budgets of the military installations involved. However, any equipment loaned or transportation provided to the Boy Scouts must be furnished at no expense to the Government. In addition, a military department is authorized by statute, under conditions prescribed by the Secretary, to lend certain property to recognized national veterans' organizations for use at their national or State conventions or national youth athletic or recreation tournaments. The veterans' organization must bear any expenses incurred by the Government in the delivery and return of the property, but the military departments may permit the use of unoccupied barracks under conditions prescribed by the Secretary. GAO is not aware of statutory provisions which authorize DOD assistance to military-related private associations; however, it has no information which places the propriety of such activities in question.