Defense Transportation:

Final Evaluation Plan Is Needed to Assess Alternatives to the Current Personal Property Program

NSIAD-00-217R: Published: Sep 27, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 2000.

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Charles I. Patton, Jr
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's Transportation Command's efforts to evaluate alternatives to the current personal property program.

GAO noted that: (1) the Transportation Command's decision to begin collecting data from the ongoing pilot project and current program in June 2000 was reasonable because: (a) the Command needs to determine this year whether its evaluation plan can be successfully executed so that any necessary changes can be made before any further assessments of pilot projects are initiated in 2001; (b) the current evaluation plan, although incomplete, provides sufficient guidance to allow the Command to begin collecting time-sensitive and other data required for analysis; and (c) the collection of data during the high-demand summer moving season in this year's assessment allows the Department to begin determining whether its pilot projects can provide the level of services desired for its servicemembers and their families when they relocate; (2) the current evaluation plan is incomplete because methodological issues related to how total costs will be measured remain unresolved; (3) if the Command does not finalize its evaluation plan and complete its current assessment, it will be unable to meet a February 15, 2001, internal reporting deadline; (4) this will impact the Command's ability to make any needed changes to the plan before conducting its initial assessment of the second pilot next year and a reassessment, if needed, of the ongoing pilot before it expires at the end of 2001; (5) if these problems are not addressed in a timely manner and should assessments continue into 2002, the Department will need to modify existing contracts or award new contracts; and (6) should this occur, the Department's efforts to improve its personal property program will be further delayed and cost more.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In December 2001, the U.S. Transportation Command issued the final/revised version of it's Personal Property Pilot Programs Evaluation Plan which addressed the previously unresolved direct and indirect cost issues. DOD developed a fully automated, constructed cost database using business rules for managing and costing-out household goods shipments that were developed and approved by the pilot program officials and military service representatives. This constructed cost database combined attributes of the two approaches-- an automated, constructed cost methodology using historical data, and a manual constructed cost approach using the business rules used in the current program-- that were being considered in calculating baseline direct costs. The U.S. Transportation Command used the results of a recently issued DOD Offset Cost Report for determining baseline and pilot indirect cost data.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Transportation Policy), the Transportation Command, and the Department of Defense Inspector General take the necessary actions to resolve outstanding cost issues this fall so that the Transportation Command can have a complete evaluation plan in place to begin assessing alternatives to the current personal property program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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