The Department of Defense Should Adopt New Clothing Allowances

FPCD-79-42: Published: Apr 20, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 1979.

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The current method of paying clothing maintenance allowance to enlisted military personnel provides reimbursement before clothing expenses are actually incurred, and for clothing replacement that will not occur under normal conditions. An alternative would be to provide an annual allowance for each year of service equal to the cost of all clothing items requiring replacement during that year, based on reasonable estimates of clothing wear-out rates under normal conditions.

The alternative would reduce clothing allowance expenditures by approximately $10 million in the first year and could be implemented with minimal cost and effort. Career enlisted members would benefit because the allowance would more closely reflect replacement costs. Special allowances for Navy chief petty officers have not been fully substantiated and appear to be significantly overstated.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Matter: The Senate Appropriations Committee should adjust the DOD appropriations request to reflect the savings that would occur under the alternative method, and should require the Navy to justify special clothing allowance expenditures for chief petty officers.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The suggested alternative, or another acceptable method, should be adopted by the Department of Defense (DOD). The Secretary of Defense should revise the special clothing allowances for chief petty officers and the DOD clothing regulation to indicate that the allowance is for replacement only.

    Agency Affected:


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