Defense Transportation:

89th Airlift Wing Executive Branch Policies Improved but Reimbursement Issues Remain

NSIAD-99-170: Published: Aug 16, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO updated its previous report on the policies governing the use of the 89th Airlift Wing Aircraft, focusing on whether: (1) changes to executive branch policies since 1992 addressed the intent of GAO's previous recommendations; and (2) reimbursements have been made for the use of the 89th Airlift Wing aircraft.

GAO noted that: (1) the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the White House addressed GAO's recommendations in policy revisions made since 1992, thus strengthening the management and use of the 89th Airlift Wing by defining key terms, specifying circumstances under which reimbursements are due, and requiring certain record-keeping measures; (2) requests to DOD for use of the wing generally complied with applicable policies on justifications for using the 89th Airlift Wing; (3) however, DOD acknowledged that agency reimbursements for wing missions have generally not been collected for 2 years and in some cases for as long as 6 years; (4) also, reimbursements for nonofficial travel in some cases were credited to the wrong accounts or the collection of the reimbursements could not be verified; and (5) although in GAO's 1992 report GAO noted problems with reimbursement processes, instructions to collect and account for them are still lacking.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of this report, DOD concurred with the recommendation. GAO recommended that DOD document the department's billing and reimbursement process with written instructions to ensure that all DOD components involved in the process comply with DOD accounting and financial management requirements to record transactions in a manner that permits verification of the proper handling of the funds. In September 1999, DOD issued instructions that clearly explain the billing procedure and the maximum time that can elapse from the end of the mission to the reporting of the mission to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), the billing organization. In addition, DFAS has established designated fund sites into which they collect receivables and ensure that the proper recipient in reimbursed. The procedures are to alleviate billing problems and ensure proper handling of the funds.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should document the Department's billing and reimbursement process with written instructions or other guidance and ensure that all DOD components involved in the process comply with DOD accounting and financial management requirements to record transactions in a manner that permits verification of the proper handling of the funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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