Navy Could Reduce Costs by Better Monitoring Its Enlisted Transfer Policy

FPCD-83-31: Published: Jun 14, 1983. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1983.

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Kenneth J. Coffey
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GAO reviewed the Navy's policy which requires that enlisted personnel have enough time remaining in their enlistment to complete their tour at a new location before transferring.

GAO found that the Navy is not complying with its transfer policy and, as a result, is incurring unnecessary costs. This situation is occurring because local commanders are permitting many of their members to transfer without obligating the required additional service. Furthermore, the procedures for ensuring that members obligate additional service before transferring to a new duty station are inadequate. GAO found that at least 6,900 enlisted members transferred to new duty locations between July 1978 and September 1982, even though they did not have enough obligated service to complete their tours at their new locations. While some of these members may have received a waiver of the obligated service requirement or may obligate additional service before their enlistment expires, the practice of large number of members transferring without obligating additional service is costly. GAO identified at least 150 members who left the service at or near the end of their enlistment before completing their tours. These uncompleted tours represented about 180 staff years of lost time valued at about $3.1 million and resulted in unnecessary permanent change-of-station costs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Navy should modify the Navy's reporting system for ensuring that members obligate the necessary service before being transferred. This modified system should: (1) establish a routine reporting requirement that monitors whether local commanders, after receiving members' transfer orders, are requiring the members to obligate service; (2) require local commanders to notify the Navy Military Personnel Command (NMPC), within a specific time period after receiving the members' transfer orders, whether the member has decided to obligate additional service; (3) provide NMPC with information to allow identification of those commanders who are repeatedly remiss in ensuring that the Navy's obligated service requirements are satisfied; and (4) identify those members who obligate for part of the prescribed tour so that NMPC personnel can decide whether the transfer would be in the Navy's best interest.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy


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