Reorganization of the Household Goods Shipping Administration in Hawaii

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-04-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                             WASH   I NGTON,   D.C.   20548

                                                                               APR     z 6   w-1


      The Honorable
      The Secretary                of Defense

                 Attention:           Assistant     Secretary         of Defense     (Comptroller)

      Dear Mr.           Secretary:

           The General Accounting      Office  reviewed the recent reorgani;
    zation of the household goods shipping           administration        in Hawaii.
    Our review included an examination         into the manner in which the ’ ‘t’ ii
 !- Joint Personal Property       Shipping Office,      Hawaii, was established
    and the effects
                ---“b-a   thatit would    have on   subsequent     staffing     and
    operations.      “The’roview  was made in January 1971 after             the estab-
    EshmentTf        the Joint Office,    but prior   to its activation.

              In December 1967, GAO recommended that the Commander in                ‘. ’
       Chief,   Pacific (CINCPAC) , review the feasibility       of consolidating
       the five separate military     household goods shipping offices          on
       Okinawa into a single office     and reevaluate     an earlier,     inconclu-
       sive study that had been made concerning        a similar    consolidation
       in Hawaii . The recommendation was based on the opinion that such
       consolidations   should result   in more economical use of administra-
       tive personnel   and in improvement of carrier       operations     through
       the increased volume of consolidated      shipments.

             CINCPAC made the review we recommended and found the consoli-
      dations   to be feasible    at both locations.     He directed that plans
      for the joint   offices   be formulated.      The plan for the Joint Per-
      sonal Property    Shipping Office,    Hawaii, was approved by the Depart
      ment of Defense in May 1970, and an activation         date of February 1,
      1971, was set.     The office   was to be under Navy control    because
      the Navy was the principal      shipper of personal property     in Hawaii.

             A similar  plan for consolidation           under unified  command control
       on Okinawa, however, was disapproved           by the Joint Chiefs of Staff
       in November 1970.       The reasons     given   for the disapproval    were that
        (1) such administrative      functions     were not appropriate    to unified
       command control    and (2) the consolidation           plan did not indicate
       any cost saving to be derived from the reorga

                                           50-i-H ANNIVERSARY1921-1971
.   .


                  At the time of our review,   CINCPAC had not decided whether
            to further  pursue plans for a reorganization     on Okinawa.    The
            question was on the agenda for discussion      at the next meeting of
            the Joint Transportation   Board.   Our review,   therefore,  was lim-
            ited to an examination   of the reorganization    that was effected
            in Hawaii.


                   We found that the establishment          of the Joint Personal Prop-
            erty Shipping Office        in Hawaii did not result         in a complete con-
            solidation.      Rather,    the Joint Office was superimposed on the
            existing    service offices.       Consequently,     the reorganization         will
            result    in administrative      costs that are substantially         higher than
            before to accomplish essentially            the same functions.       In addition,
            the new organization        may also add administrative         complications        to
            the existing     operation,    in that it splits       certain   responsibilities
            between the Joint Office         and the service     offices    which have been
            handled solely by the service          offices.

                    The Joint Personal Property          Shipping Office,      Hawaii, will      be
    x       operated under the Naval Supply Center,                Pearl Harbor,    as a jointly
            staffed    office     and will be responsible        for the booking, monitoring,
            and inspecting        of the household goods and personal           effects    ship-
            ments of all the military           services    in Hawaii.     Each service,     how-
            ever, will      retain   responsibility      for processing     the applications
            and damage claims for those shipments and for completely                    process-
            ing automobile        and parcel post shipments.          Each service will       con-
            tinue to operate a separate shipping              office    to carry out those
            functions     which it retains.

                   The staffing      for the Joint Office    was provided by the trans-
            fer from the service         offices of those personnel    positions   related
            to the functions       being taken over by the Joint Office.         Personnel
            positions   related      to the other functions,    however, were retained
            by the service      offices.

                  Our analysis    showed that,  before the establishment of the
            Joint Office,    there were 105 employees in Hawaii working directly
            in the administration     of household goods shipments with related

personnel costs estimated           at $930,000 a year.       After the establish-
ment of the Joint Office,           the number of personnel        increased to 108;
and the annual personnel cost will             increase by about $76,000 to a
total   of slightly     over $1 million.         This increase was caused basi-
cally because each of the existing             service offices      retained    its
supervisory    positions,       making it necessary to establish           new posi-
tions for the Joint Office.             In addition,    there was a net upgrad-
ing of the positions         transferred,    and no overall      reduction    in the
total personnel      staffing.

       Before the establishment         of the Joint Office,     each service
office   handled all aspects of personal property            movements.     After
its establishment,     responsibilities        were split   between the Joint
Office and the four service offices.              As stated above, the ser-
vice offices    will continue to completely          process automobile     and
parcel post shipments and to receive applications               and process
claims for other personal property            shipments.    The Joint Office
will book, monitor,      and inspect personal property          shipments other
than automobiles     and parcel post.

       Household goods shipping applications       will  thus be received
at the service offices        and forwarded to the Joint Office for ac-
tual booking.      Two courier     positions were created for the purpose
of delivering    the paper work&@tween the offices.          The result  is
that an additional     office    is[$@quired  to perform the same func-
tions that had previously        be@$$herformed by the service offices
alone.                               &g
       Whereas the service member previously        had all his personal
property   booked by the service office,       he will now have to deal
with that office      to ship his automobile     and he will have to apply
to the Joint Office for information         on the actual booking of other
property   shipments.     This arrangement,    in our opinion,   creates
unnecessary complications      for both the administrators      and the in-
dividual   members.

       We recognize   that the establishment        of the Joint Office will
undoubtedly    result   in a standardization       of traffic    and inspection
practices,    and also in other benefits         to the Government.      All in-
spections    of shipments and carriers       will be under a single author-
ity, as well as the booking of shipments with those carriers.                 All
shipping records will be maintained          in a central     location   using

. .


      an automatic      filing    system.   Communications will be improved by
      the installation         of a central  switchboard,  a direct   teletype   link
      with CONUS, and a radio network for the use;pf the household goods
      inspectors.       The Joint Office will also %&titute         a management in-
      formation     system to compile total       shipping data that has been un-
      available     in the past for all the military       services   in Hawaii.

              In spite of these improvements,   however, we do not believe
      that the new organization,     as now planned, will provide the opti-
      mum management over military     household goods shipments in Hawaii.
      Each of the services will     continue to operate its separate office
      administering    some aspects of personal property    shipments,     each in
      a somewhat different     manner and with considerable    duplication    of

            We noted, for example, that the Navy household goods office,
      although transferring       about two thirds   of its personnel    and a
      large part of its responsibility        to the Joint Office,    retained
      both of its officer      positions   in order to administer    the remain-
      ing functions.      Likewise,    each of the other service offices       trans-
      ferred a large part of its staff        and responsibilities     to the Joint
      Office but in each case retained        its key supervisory   positions.

              We were unable during our review to find any compelling    rea-
      sons why the Joint Office could not perform all the administra-
      tive functions     concerned with personal property  shipments in
      Hawaii.     We continue to believe that such a consolidation    would
      result    in the reduction   of administrative costs and in better
      overall    management of the shipments.

             Moreover, we believe that there is a need to ensure that the
      shipping functions     transferred      to the Joint Office will be con-
      solidated    and standardized      in the most economical manner.          In this
      regard, we observed that the current          staffing    of the Joint Office
      was accomplished primarily        by combining the widely disparate           mili-
      tary and civilian     personnel positions      of the existing      service of-
      fices rather than by the use of any definitive             staffing   criteria.
      We believe that the lack of such criteria             was caused, in large
      part, by the general dearth of management data on household goods
      shipments in Hawaii and that this deficiency             should be corrected        in
      the future by the Joint Office's          management information      system.



       We discussed our findings  with officials     of the Naval Supply
Center, Pearl Harbor,   the Joint Office,     and with CINCPAC transpor-
tation   officials.

       In general,     they agreed that it probably would be more eco-
nomical and efficient         to have all personal property        shipping ad-
ministration      under a central      office    and indicated  that the idea
warranted    further     consideration      in view of our findings.


       We recommend that you reexamine the tasks now being performed
by the separate military       shipping offices     in Hawaii to determine
if they could be performed more economically           and with greater   ef-
ficiency    by the Joint Office.       We also recommend that you reexamine
the very similar     situation   on Okinawa to determine      if a joint  ship-
ping office    there would be beneficial       to the Government.

       Your attention    is invited    to section  236 of the Legislative
Reorganization     Act of 1970 which requires      that you submit written
statements    of the action.taken     with respect     to these recommenda-
tions.     The statements    are to be sent to the House and Senate Com-
mittees    on Government Operations      not later   than 60 days after    the ‘:I’~“.’
date of this report      and to the House and Senate Committees on Ap-~,.~-2~~~
propriations    in connection     with the first   request for appropri-
ations submitted      by your agency more than 60 days after        the date
of this report.

     We shall appreciate  receiving   copies        of the statements     that
you furnish  to the above committees.

                                      Sincerely    yours,

                                      Director,    Transportation    Division