Improvements In Policies And Procedures For Travel Overseas Would Reduce Permanent-Change-Of-Station Costs In The Military Services

LCD-75-226: Published: May 9, 1975. Publicly Released: May 9, 1975.

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Pursuant to a legislative request, GAO reviewed the military services' policies on overseas travel of military personnel and their dependents and reported on possible savings or improvements in travel arrangements which could result from changes in these policies.

GAO noted that: (1) about 66 percent of Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps members serving unaccompanied tours in overseas areas move their dependents to designated locations within the continental United States to await their return from overseas; (2) when the member returns, the dependents move again to the next duty station; (3) approximately 50 percent of moves to designated locations could be avoided and significant savings realized if the member knew his next duty station in the United States before going overseas; (4) the dependents would forego the temporary move and go directly to the next U.S. duty station; (5) the Army routinely approves requests for conversions of unaccompanied tours to accompanied tours regardless of how little time the member may have remaining in his unaccompanied tour or whether his dependents have already been moved to a designated location to await his return from overseas; (6) the member must serve the full period of an accompanied tour or 12 months after his dependents arrive in the overseas area, whichever is longer; (7) as a result of late conversions, dependents frequently are allowed travel overseas for relatively short periods of time; (8) since the travel costs are spread over the period the dependents remain overseas, the shorter tours are costly; (9) Army travel costs have also been increased by members' failing to serve out prescribed tours; (10) the Army is more liberal than the Air Force in its policy for authorizing travel of dependents to interim locations with in the United States to await overseas travel; (11) dependents of Army members are allowed to travel to an interim location if the waiting period for housing in the overseas area is expected to be 60 days or more; (12) Air Force dependents are not eligible for such travel unless the waiting period will be 140 days or more; (13) GAO estimates that about 34 percent of the Army moves involving subsequent travel of dependents include travel to an interim location compared with about 5 percent for the Air Force; (14) the Army has recently adopted a new overseas policy intended to reduce the numbers of interim moves; (15) GAO believes that the new policy which liberalizes concurrent travel will increase temporary lodging allowance costs by about $3.2 million without greatly reducing the number of interim moves; and (16) in connection with housing for military personnel and their dependents, GAO found weaknesses in the management of such housing and the need for improvements in forecasting waiting periods.

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