Household Goods:

Administrative Changes Would Improve DOD's Do-It-Yourself Moving Program

NSIAD-94-226: Published: Sep 27, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 1994.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) Do-It-Yourself Program (DITY), which allows service members to move their household goods themselves, focusing on: (1) the extent to which service members use the program; (2) whether DOD adequately informs service members of the program's benefits; and (3) DOD controls to ensure that the program is cost-effective.

GAO found that: (1) DITY moves have increased from about 28,000 in fiscal year (FY) 1977 to more than 156,000 and 147,000 in FY 1992 and FY 1993, respectively; (2) domestic commercial shipments have remained constant at about 200,000 per year; (3) not all commercial shipments are DITY candidates because of the location, size, complexity of the move, or special requirements; (4) although service members are aware of DITY, DOD transportation offices do not always make a concerted effort to inform members of DITY benefits prior to their moves; (5) the program's cash incentive is the greatest motivator for participation, but transportation offices usually calculate the cash amount members receive only when a member is already inclined to participate; (6) DOD does not know if DITY moves are always cost-effective because it does not take into account discounts offered by commercial carriers when calculating DITY payments; and (7) when DOD pays excess DITY costs, it violates the statute authorizing the payment of DITY cash incentives.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The services developed and issued publication fully explaining the benefits of the DITY program.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the service secretaries to prepare and distribute to all transportation counselors materials that can be given to each prospective DITY participant explaining the DITY program and pointing out that there are cash incentives for participants. The prospective participants should be provided with a statement showing how much of a cash incentive they could get if they decided to use DITY.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD does not agree that Joint Federal Travel Regulations need to be revised or that services' implementing regulations need to be changed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should revise the Joint Federal Travel Regulations and direct the military services to revise their implementing regulations for calculating the cash incentive to be paid under the DITY program. The revision should ensure that the constructive commercial cost reflects the cost that DOD could reasonably be expected to pay if the shipment moved commercially.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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