Aviation Continuation Pay:

Some Bonuses Are Inappropriate Because of Prior Service Obligations

NSIAD-95-30: Published: Oct 14, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 25, 1994.

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GAO reviewed the military services' compliance with a congressional directive that prohibits the payment of Aviation Continuation Pay (ACP) bonuses to service members with overlapping service commitments, focusing on the: (1) extent and amount of the overlapping commitments; and (2) reasons for these preexisting commitments.

GAO found that: (1) the services have paid ACP bonuses to service members with preexisting commitments despite prohibitions from the House Armed Services Committee; (2) 58 percent of the 2,278 ACP contracts in fiscal year (FY) 1992 and 69 percent of the 1,104 ACP contracts in FY 1993 went to aviators with preexisting commitments; (3) the overlapping commitments in FY 1992 and 1993 resulted from commitments incurred in connection with receipt of additional flight training or permanent change of station moves; (4) the aviators' overlapping commitments averaged 15 months and cost the services approximately $15 million in FY 1992 and $11 million in FY 1993; and (5) paying bonuses to entice aviators to commit to service periods for which they are already committed is inconsistent with the House Armed Services Committee directive and an imprudent use of taxpayer funds.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD did not concur with the recommendation and has indicated that it does not intend to take any action. The House Appropriations Committee, however, cut DOD's FY 1996 budget request for Aviation Continuation Pay by $5.6 million. Action by the full Congress has not yet been taken.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should establish internal controls to ensure that the services do not pay aviators for periods of preexisting service obligations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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