Presidential Travel:

DOD Airlift Cost for White House Foreign Travel

NSIAD-00-209: Published: Aug 4, 2000. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense (DOD) costs for fixed-wing cargo airlift, passenger airlift, and aerial refueling for foreign trips by the President, Vice President, and First Lady and for White House-directed trips.

GAO noted that: (1) on the basis of the best available data, GAO estimates that DOD spent at least $292 million to provide fixed-wing airlift and air refueling support for 159 White House foreign trips from January 1, 1997, through March 31, 2000; (2) these costs are somewhat understated because DOD could not provide historical data on some aerial refueling missions and could not assure GAO that its information systems had captured complete mission data for some of the trips; (3) GAO excluded from its analysis in-country aircraft support costs provided by military theater commanders because these mission records were not readily available; (4) Air Force officials indicated the cost of this support was likely to be minimal relative to the total DOD airlift cost; (5) GAO also did not include costs of other federal agencies' support for any of these trips, costs for some White House-directed trips that were classified, or costs of other aircraft used for the security of the President; and (6) the President's 27 trips accounted for 85 percent of the total aircraft support cost, the Vice President's 8 trips accounted for 4 percent, the First Lady's 20 trips accounted for 4 percent, and the other 104 trips directed by the President accounted for the remaining 7 percent.

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