DOD's Shipment of Service Members' Foreign-Made Automobiles

NSIAD-85-64: Published: Jun 17, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1985.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO responded to specific questions regarding the Department of Defense's (DOD) shipment of service members' privately owned vehicles from Guam to their posts in Japan and Singapore. GAO focused on members based in Japan because relatively few vehicles were shipped from Guam for members based in Singapore during the period studied.

GAO found that strict Japanese motor vehicle standards make it so impracticable for service members to ship U.S.-made privately owned vehicles to Japan and back for use during their tours of service that DOD placed an embargo on the shipment of such vehicles to and from Japan. However, DOD has allowed members to ship vehicles to Guam at their own expense and from Guam to the United States at government expense. GAO also found that: (1) DOD has complied with applicable statutes in allowing members to ship vehicles from Guam to the United States, but such shipments may not be consistent with congressional intent; (2) more service members would likely ship Japanese-made vehicles to the United States if Congress had not passed legislation intended to halt such shipping practices; (3) the cost of shipping Japanese-made vehicles from Guam varies between $1,429 and $2,577 per vehicle; (4) members of all ranks and some civilian employees have shipped Japanese-made vehicles to the United States from Guam; and (5) if Congress wished to allow service members to ship privately owned vehicles to and from Japan, the cost of converting U.S.-made vehicles to meet Japanese standards and transporting them to Japan would amount to between $2,000 and $3,100 per vehicle.

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