Household Goods Shipments in Excess of Military Servicemembers' Authorized Weight Allowances

PLRD-81-40: Published: Jun 18, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the traffic management procedures for the movement and storage of personal property shipments and the weighing and reweighing of such shipments. Specifically, GAO determined the percentage of these shipments that exceeded the military members' authorized weight allowances and what measures could be taken to reduce the incidence of overweight shipments.

The statistics from the different branches of the services were compared and GAO found that: (1) in fiscal year 1979, the percentage of household goods shipments that exceeded the authorized weight allowances equaled 5.7 percent; (2) the majority of servicemembers were able to stay within their authorized weight allowances, but this did not mean that hardships were not created because of the limits; (3) the proposed increase in weight allowances was based on erroneous assumptions; (4) there are inequities in the amounts allowed for junior enlisted members and higher ranks; and (5) premove counseling could be improved which would reduce the number of overweight shipments.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should reemphasize the importance and benefit of premove counseling and the need to provide adequate time to properly counsel servicemembers before household goods are shipped.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to establish an appropriate minimum collection amount to be used for household goods excess cost claims against servicemembers and direct the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force to reevaluate their minimum collection amounts based on an analysis of the current cost to collect claims within each service.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct that prompt action be taken on the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee's proposal to change junior enlisted members' weight allowance from 225 pounds gross weight to 225 pounds net weight for shipments within the United States. This will give these members the allowances for packing/crating material that all higher ranking members now receive.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee to reconsider its recommendation to increase the JTR weight allowances. The reconsideration should be based on actual, instead of potential, excess weight shipments. Also, before the committee decides to increase the normal JTR weight allowances, it should consider the percentage of excess weight shipments related to the administrative weight restrictions imposed on moves to certain overseas stations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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