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Defense Management: Proposed Lodging Policy May Lead to Improvements, but More Actions Are Required.

GAO-02-351 March 18, 2002

The military services primarily operate two types of hotels, or lodges, to support official travelers. The first, called permanent-change-of-station (PCS) lodges, support military personnel and their families moving to new duty stations. These are intended to provide military travelers and their families with a clean, affordable place to stay while they prepare to move and while they wait for permanent quarters at their new station. The second type, called temporary duty (TDY) lodges, support military and civilians temporarily traveling on official business. PCS lodges are the subject of a proposed policy change by the Department of Defense (DOD). DOD's current policy permits PCS lodges to be managed as part of morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) programs. The proposed policy would change this practice by requiring separation of lodge revenues from those used for MWR purposes. Except for the Marine Corps, the proposed policy change will not impact the services' MWR programs. Only the Marine Corps currently uses PCS lodge earnings to support its MWR programs. From fiscal years 1996 through 2000, the net profits reported by the Marine Corps' lodges steadily increased from $1.8 million to $5.1 million, and are considered an important source of funds for the Marine Corps' MWR programs. Marine Corps officials do not believe the policy change is required and said that, if implemented, the Corps would have to make changes, such as reducing quality-of-life programs at some installations or seeking additional appropriations to compensate for the loss of this revenue. The proposed policy is predicated on resolving a perceived regulatory conflict and achieving other management objectives. DOD officials believe separation of PCS lodging funds from MWR funds is required to resolve a conflict with the Joint Federal Travel Regulation. However, the regulation does not apply to lodging management, and the policy change, by itself, is likely to have little direct effect on DOD's broader management objectives. The services' plans for building new PCS lodges are consistent with department guidance. The proposed change will not, by itself, change that guidance.
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Publication:General Accounting Office Reports & Testimony
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:340
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