Savings Possible Through Better Management Of Quarters For Enlisted Personnel

LCD-76-327: Published: Jun 28, 1976. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 1976.

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GAO reviewed how the military services can greatly reduce payments for enlisted bachelors to live in the civilian community through better management of existing on-base quarters.

GAO noted that: (1) the military services either provide housing for enlisted bachelors or pay them allowances to live in the civilian community; (2) during 1975 such payments totalled about $91.3 million; (3) this cost could be greatly reduced through better management of bachelor enlisted quarters; (4) military installations manage bachelor enlisted quarters by the "unit integrity concept," in which blocks of space, such as a wing or floor, are assigned to organizational units and later to personnel; (5) people from one unit cannot be assigned to the space of another unit; (6) many people from units whose space is filled are paid to live in the civilian community although space is available in quarters assigned to other units; (7) bachelor enlisted quarters can be used to house either permanent or transient personnel, but it costs more to house transients in the civilian community; (8) appropriated funds can be conserved by skillful allocation of quarters between permanent and transient personnel; (9) military installations do not always do this; (10) the data needed to accurately determine the unnecessary costs was not contained in housing records; (11) by using the best data available at each installation, GAO estimated such costs to be $3.4 million annually at the 11 installations visited; (12) the Army and the Navy do not provide routine information which management can use to compare vacancies in quarters with the number of people paid to live off base; and (13) such information is necessary so the Department of Defense can make the best use of existing housing facilities and, at the same time, reduce its housing costs.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should require the military services to: (1) discontinue the unit integrity concept and adopt a system that includes centralized room assignment without regard to each individual's unit affiliation; (2) periodically determine the space available for permanent and transient personnel at each installation and allocate quarters accordingly. Transients should be housed in contract quarters when this alternative is more economical and when government quarters are not available; and (3) prescribe requirements for more complete, consistent, and timely records and reports on the management and use of bachelor enlisted quarters.

    Agency Affected:


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