Controls Over Property in Custody of Military Units Can Be Improved

LCD-80-66: Published: Jun 6, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1980.

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Accounting for personal property in the custody of military units and problems with relief-from-accountability procedures were reviewed.

The review of property accountability activities at selected military installations found weaknesses in procedures on accounting and reporting on Government property lost, damaged, or destroyed. Although established accountability procedures were generally adequate, many units reviewed were not following them. Periodic physical inventories were not always done, material transfers were not always documented, tool purchases were not always verified, and physical security sometimes left much to be desired. The difficulty of proving service members grossly negligent appears to discourage the services from attempting to fix liability for lost or damaged property. The Navy and Marine Corps also are hindered because they lack legal authority to withhold the cost of lost or damaged equipment from a member's pay.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: To strengthen controls over military property, the Secretary of Defense should instruct all the military services to emphasize property accountability procedures, including the need to perform timely and accurate physical inventories; document property transfers; verify tool and other equipment purchases; and protect material from deterioration and pilferage. The Secretary should also evaluate the revised procedures for granting relief from accountability being tested by the Army, particularly the simplified definition of the term negligence, for possible application DOD-wide. He should also propose revisions to applicable law to provide authority to collect assessed liability for lost or damaged property from service members' pay.

    Agency Affected:


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