Government Operations:

Need for Reevaluation of Defense Separation Travel Policy

FPCD-80-24: Published: Oct 23, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 1979.

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At least $1 million annually can be saved by paying separating service members only for travel actually performed. Currently, separating service members are paid an amount not to exceed the cost to the member's home of record or place from which he was ordered to active duty. In an earlier review, GAO suggested that separation mileage allowances be paid to the intended future residence of the member based on his certification, provided the payments do not exceed the distance to the member's home of record or place from which he was called to active duty. It was also suggested that all mileage payments be put on an after-the-fact basis. Transportation in kind or transportation requests could be furnished members who do not have enough money to return home on separation. This second review considered the extra costs that would be incurred by these proposals.

Air Force officials said that the proposals would have little effect on personnel office processing. It was estimated that the administrative costs would be insignificant when compared to the potential savings in Air Force separation travel. Comparable savings could be expected in the other services. As stated in the earlier report, GAO believes that Congress allowed payment of separation travel allowances without proof of travel performed to simplify administrative procedures, not to provide additional compensation to personnel. It was found that those administrative procedures were not so costly as to warrant continued payment of separation travel allowances for travel not performed or not to be performed.

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