Coast Guard:

Use of Appropriated Funds for the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Program

RCED-92-158: Published: May 18, 1992. Publicly Released: May 18, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Coast Guard's Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Program to determine: (1) the amounts of appropriated and nonappropriated funds used to support the program; (2) how the Coast Guard's requirements on the use of appropriated funds compared with the requirements of the Department of Defense (DOD) for support of its MWR programs; and (3) whether the Coast Guard's management of the program ensures effective use of funds.

GAO found that: (1) for fiscal years 1988 through 1991, appropriated and nonappropriated funding support for the MWR Program ranged from $10.8 million to $12.4 million annually; (2) on average, appropriated funding accounted for 49 percent of program support and nonappropriated funding accounted for 51 percent; (3) DOD requires its services to minimize the use of appropriated funds to support facilities that generate revenue and use nonappropriated funds to support the construction of certain MWR facilities, but the Coast Guard had no similar requirements; (4) in March 1992, the Coast Guard issued new requirements similar to DOD requirements, but the Coast Guard did not require that nonappropriated funds be used to support construction of certain MWR facilities; (5) the Coast Guard lacks key management requirements that could help ensure that its MWR Program funds are used for the greatest benefit of its members; (6) the Coast Guard does not enforce MWR budget regulations, require units to have their MWR budgets reviewed, or require units to conduct user surveys; and (7) without such requirements, the Coast Guard does not know whether funds are being used appropriately or whether it is providing activities and facilities that meet the needs of its personnel.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A Coast Guard directive was issued on May 27, 1993, prescribing the budget approval process of units' MWR budgets. It also established a deadline for approval of MWR budgets.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to require that units' MWR budgets are reviewed and approved by district and/or headquarters MWR offices to provide better fiscal oversight of the MWR Program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Coast Guard issued a directive on May 27, 1993, requiring that a MWR user survey be administered every 3 years and the survey results be used in developing and operating MWR activities. The agency also developed instructions for administering the survey and an example of a user survey.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to require that regularly scheduled surveys of personnel are conducted to ensure that MWR Program is more closely oriented to the needs of its users.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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