How Military Postal Service Operations Can Be Improved

LCD-80-20: Published: Jan 11, 1980. Publicly Released: Jan 11, 1980.

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The Military Postal Service (MPS) was established to provide a means of delivering official and personal mail to and from military members assigned overseas. An assessment was made of MPS operations and avenues available to make it more efficient, cost effective, and responsive to user needs. Congress has recently expressed an interest in the matter and a Subcommittee has made several recommendations for improvement.

Most of the problems identified by the Subcommittee still exist and the recommended actions have not been taken. Means which could be taken to improve MPS operations include: using the least costly transportation for low priority parcels from overseas to the United States, establishing mail service standards and a measurement system to assess the quality of mail service, and improving audit and security oversight of overseas operations. GAO estimated that during fiscal year 1978 the Department of Defense (DOD) could have saved $14 million if low priority parcels had been diverted from airlift to sealift. It was found that the delay by DOD in establishing a single service management agency, as recommended by the Subcommittee, was unwarranted.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Matter: The Congress should enact permanent legislation along the lines of the legislation drafted by DOD to permit the diversion of low priority parcels from airlift to sealift transportation from overseas locations. This legislation should enable DOD to significantly reduce the Government's cost of transporting parcels from overseas locations.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Postmaster General should, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, take action to identify reasonable transit times, develop time standards, and implement a performance measurement service. An immediate alternative would be to explore the feasibility of extending the present Postal Service Origin/Destination Information System to include mail transit times to and from overseas locations. The Postmaster General and the Secretary of Defense should work together to identify MPS audit and inspection needs and decide upon the best mix of Postal Service and military resources to most effectively meet these needs. The Postmaster and Secretary should also request the Office of Management and Budget's involvement in negotiations if differences have not been resolved by December 31, 1979. The feasibility of transferring west coast unit mail sortation responsibilities to Far East military units should be determined by the Secretary and the Postmaster. They should also establish quality standards for equipment to be furnished the MPS by the Postal Service and jointly review existing MPS equipment and equipment needs to determine actions necessary to bring MPS equipment up to standard. One action to be explored is repairing customer service equipment overseas rather than returning it to the continental United States. To ensure that MPS equipment needs are met on a continuing basis, the Secretary of Defense should establish a single point of contact within the new single service management agency to act as a liaison with the Postal Service for military service equipment needs, and a system to permit continuous monitorship of MPS equipment and equipment needs.

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