Weaknesses Persist in Defense Overseas Cash Management Program

FGMSD-79-6: Published: Jan 10, 1979. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 1979.

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GAO is continuing its examination of cash management and unnecessary interest costs incurred overseas by the Department of Defense (DOD). Since the Treasury bears the cost of public borrowings, Defense organizations have little incentive to improve the management of cash beyond the general employee responsibility to conserve Government funds.

Because replenishment techniques are cumbersome and inefficient, Defense employees keep about $6 million in excess cash onhand in the Far East. Because the Army did not know the available amount of dollars for payroll and disbursement purposes, it could not determine whether its agent in Europe was making appropriate and timely dollar purchases from lending institutions. Premature Treasury withdrawals and excessive cash holdings generate unnecessary interest costs, and GAO estimates that improvements could save about $1 million in such costs annually. The President, the House Committee on Appropriations, and the Department of the Treasury have all taken steps to improve financial management by DOD. DOD has also formulated a cash management review program and is planning a number of other actions.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: Defense employees should make an effort to keep overseas cash holdings at minimum levels even without incentives. The Secretary of Defense should reduce cash balances, improve replenishment procedures, and strengthen cash management at overseas activities. The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) should devise a system of incentives to encourage efficient cash management.

    Agency Affected:

 

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