Defense Transportation:

The Army's Hunter Pilot Project to Outsource Relocation Services

NSIAD-98-149: Published: Jun 10, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1998.

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David R. Warren
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Army's Hunter pilot program, an alternative approach for providing relocation services for its personnel stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia, focusing on: (1) data collected to date; (2) GAO's observations on how the Army plans to evaluate the data; and (3) other pilot tests that are under way or planned in the Department of Defense (DOD).

GAO noted that: (1) through the first 6 months of operation, the Hunter pilot contractor had received and processed nearly 800 requests for transportation and relocation services, arranged for transportation of nearly 600 personal property shipments, and assisted Army members initiate another 200 do-it-yourself moves; (2) because many of the shipments had not been completed at the time of GAO's review, the Army had paid for only about 200 of these shipments, at a cost of about $500,000, but it was actively collecting data on all the factors--quality of life, cost, and impact on small businesses--it was planning to use in its evaluation of the pilot; (3) however, at the time GAO completed its work, the Army had not determined what it would consider successful within each factor or how much weight each factor would have in determining overall success; (4) specifically, the Army had not determined criteria to judge the success or failure of the pilot to help it assess whether the pilot was performing better or worse than the existing program; (5) making such determinations before pilot program data are analyzed would be important to enhancing the credibility of the Army's assessment and for use in making comparisons with other pilot programs that are under way or planned in DOD; (6) these include pilots under way by the Navy or planned by the Military Traffic Management Command; (7) also, DOD and the Army are considering expanding the pilot now being tested at Hunter Army Airfield to other DOD sites; (8) subsequently, in response to GAO's draft report, the Army provided it with new information on how it will determine the results of the pilot; (9) the information, with some minor exceptions, represents important steps toward formulating a sound evaluation plan; (10) however, the evaluation method has not yet been finalized or made a formal part of the evaluation plan, and questions remain about the definition of terms and small business group measurements; and (11) GAO recognized that further issues could be identified as the evaluation method is refined and finalized.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the draft report, DOD stated that the Army was finalizing its evaluation methodology. As noted in June 1999 report on the results of the Hunter pilot test, the Army clarified how it would measure pilot success and revised its methodology in the evaluation plan. However, these actions were not finalized until August 1998, some 2 months after the 12-month pilot test was completed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to finalize its method for evaluating the pilot results to include the new evaluation information provided in response to GAO's draft report.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD reported that the Army is strengthening the plan by clearly defining the measures of success, including identifying the small business groups on which measurements will be taken. It is also more clearly defining terms used in measuring success. The Army did improve the meaning of terms and how it would measure small business usage; however, the timeliness of the action was late in that completion occurred 2 months after the 12-month test period ended.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to strengthen the evaluation plan by better defining terms and more clearly defining the small business groups on which measurements will be taken to establish small business participation in the pilot.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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