Law Authorizing Shipment of Service Members' Vehicles Needs Revision

NSIAD-86-142: Published: Jun 11, 1986. Publicly Released: Jun 11, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) policy for shipping service members' privately owned vehicles (POV) at government expense to determine if current legislative requirements adversely affect their efficient and economical movement.

GAO noted that: (1) the Joint Travel Regulations restrict the shipment of POV at government expense to members ordered to make a permanent change of station to, from, or between places outside the United States; (2) the regulations provide for transportation of POV within the continental United States (CONUS) only in the case of home port changes; and (3) members are entitled to allowances when driving their POV to new duty stations in CONUS only in lieu of commercial transportation for the member or his family. GAO found that: (1) existing law requires most POV shipments to be on ocean vessels and between customary ports; (2) in fiscal year 1985, these restrictions resulted in over $3.1 million in additional costs to DOD, increased mileage reimbursements to members, and delayed the shipment of vehicles by as much as 4 months; and (3) DOD paid about $4.8 million more for members stationed in Germany to pick up or deliver POV than if the members could have done so at locations closer to their duty stations.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Changes in the 1987 Defense Authorization Act now permit the overland movement of members' POV and also deleted the requirement that vehicles only be shipped between customary ports. These are the changes that GAO recommended.

    Matter: Congress should amend the current law to permit the overland movement of members' POV when it is the most efficient and economical means of transportation. Such change would require only minor revisions to the existing law and would follow the amendment language proposed by the House in 1985, but should also delete the requirement that vehicles only be shipped between customary ports.


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