Maneuver Damage:

DOD Needs to Strengthen U.S. Verification of Claims in Germany

NSIAD-88-191: Published: Aug 9, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's procedures for processing maneuver damage claims stemming from the U.S. Army, Europe's (USAREUR) military training maneuvers in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

GAO found that the U.S. Army Claims Service, Europe (USACSEUR): (1) continues to pay virtually all claims without verifying whether U.S. forces caused the damage or that damage occurred; (2) uses Master Maneuver Damage Reports to verify damage, although the data only list a portion of the damages actually claimed; (3) estimated that it could save up to $10 million a year if it routinely used on-site inspections to verify claims; (4) cited lack of adequate resources as the reason for rarely performing on-site inspections of damage; (5) recently tested the feasibility of using Army Corps of Engineers personnel to verify road damage claims; (6) did not maintain adequate records of the inspections it performed; and (7) plans to take several actions to strengthen U.S. verification, including making damage reports more useful for verification purposes and making more personnel available to physically verify claims.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USAREUR has hired five additional people and reversed a scheduled manpower reduction of four slots for USACSEUR. The blanket scope certificate has been eliminated and stringent documentation requirements for claims' validation have been implemented.

    Recommendation: In order to strengthen internal controls over the payment of maneuver damage claims in FRG, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that USAREUR fully implements its actions to improve controls over maneuver damage payments and uses qualified personnel to inspect a portion of the more significant claims processed under scope procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USAREUR has implemented stringent documentation requirements for claims' validation and purchased and installed a computer at USACSEUR to store and monitor the information generated by the new documentation process.

    Recommendation: In order to strengthen internal controls over the payment maneuver damage claims in FRG, the Secretary of Defense should ensure that the procedures USAREUR is now developing will enable it to collect and document sufficient data so that only valid claims are paid.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: USAREUR has hired a German national as an engineer. His effectiveness will be monitored by USACSEUR. If necessary, additional engineers will be employed by USACSEUR, according to the Department of Defense (DOD).

    Recommendation: In order to strengthen internal controls over the payments of maneuver damage claims in FRG, the Secretary of Defense should determine whether the USAREUR plan provide USACSEUR with an engineer proves to be satisfactory for reviewing claims and conducting on-site inspections, especially for higher-cost road damage claims.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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