oversight

Presidential Travel: Costs and Accounting for President's 1998 Trips to China, Chile, and Africa

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-09-21.

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

                   United States General Accounting Office

GAO                Report to Congressional Requesters




September 1999
                   PRESIDENTIAL
                   TRAVEL

                   Costs and Accounting
                   For the President’s
                   1998 Trips to Africa,
                   Chile, and China




GAO/NSIAD-99-164
Contents



Letter                                                                                      3


Appendixes   Appendix I     Support Provided for the President’s Trip to Africa            20
             Appendix II    Support Provided for the President’s Trip to Chile             23
             Appendix III Support Provided for the President’s Trip to China               25
             Appendix IV Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                27
             Appendix V     Comments From the White House                                  30
             Appendix VI Comments From the Department of State                             31
             Appendix VII Comments From the Department of Defense                          32
             Appendix VIII GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                          33


Tables       Table 1: Estimated Cost of the President’s 1998 Trip to Africa                 9
             Table 2: Estimated Cost of the President’s 1998 Trip to Chile                 13
             Table 3: Estimate of the Cost of the President’s 1998 Trip to China           16
             Table 4: Travelers on the Africa Trip                                         20
             Table 5: DOD-Provided Fixed-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to
               Africa                                                                      21
             Table 6: DOD-Provided Rotary-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to
               Africa                                                                      22
             Table 7: Travelers on the Chile Trip                                          23
             Table 8: DOD-Provided Fixed-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to
               Chile                                                                       24
             Table 9: DOD-Provided Rotary-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to
               Chile                                                                       24
             Table 10: Travelers on the China Trip                                         25
             Table 11: DOD-Provided Fixed-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to
               China                                                                       26


Figures      Figure 1: Itinerary of the Official Delegation in Africa                       8
             Figure 2: Itinerary of the Official Delegation in Chile                       12
             Figure 3: Itinerary of the Official Delegation in China                       15

             Abbreviations

             DOD          Department of Defense




             Page 1                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Contents




Page 2     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
United States General Accounting Office                                                  National Security and
Washington, D.C. 20548                                                            International Affairs Division



                                    B-282773                                                                         Leter




                                    September 21, 1999

                                    The Honorable Larry E. Craig
                                    The Honorable Jeff Sessions
                                    The Honorable Craig Thomas
                                    United States Senate

                                    At your request, we are providing information related to the (1) estimated
                                    costs and the nature of the costs of President Clinton’s 1998 trips to Africa,
                                    Chile, and China and (2) executive branch accounting procedures for such
                                    expenses. This information is based on available agency records.



Results in Brief                    Presidential travel to foreign destinations requires planning, coordination,
                                    and logistical and personnel support. The estimated incremental costs of
                                    President Clinton’s trips to Africa, Chile, and China were at least
                                    $42.8 million, $10.5 million, and $18.8 million, respectively. The largest of
                                    these costs consisted of (1) operating expenses of the President’s aircraft
                                    and other military passenger and cargo aircraft; (2) travel expenses,
                                    including lodging for the travelers; and (3) telecommunications, vehicle,
                                    and other equipment rentals and procurement in the countries visited.
                                    These estimates exclude (1) Secret Service expenses, which are classified;
                                    (2) regular salaries and benefits of U.S. government civil and military
                                    travelers; and (3) agency planning expenses that may have been incurred in
                                    preparing to travel.

                                    The executive branch does not have a single system to account for the cost
                                    of presidential travel overseas, and the agencies involved use a variety of
                                    means to account for expenses. The Department of State routinely
                                    accounts for travel, equipment rental, and other costs to support
                                    presidential travel. Other agencies that incurred costs in support of the
                                    Africa, Chile, and China trips had records available on their costs as well.



Background                          A series of planning activities precedes overseas presidential travel. Once a
                                    decision is made to visit a foreign country, White House, Department of
                                    State, Secret Service, and, depending on the trip agenda or purpose, other
                                    federal agency staff begin planning the trip. Staff from these agencies




                                    Page 3                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                           B-282773




                           generally make at least three trips to the country or countries to be visited
                           before the President arrives.

                           The first trip, known as a site survey, permits officials to visit sites at which
                           presidential events may be held. During the second trip, known as a
                           preadvance visit, officials narrow down the choice of sites, plan for the
                           events, and make final site selections. During the third trip, an advance trip
                           taken about 7 days before the President arrives, officials set up needed
                           equipment at event locations and make final preparations for the
                           President’s arrival. Hereafter, we refer to these trips collectively as advance
                           trips, and the teams as advance teams.


Certain Agencies Support   The Department of Defense (DOD) and some of the military services
All of the President’s     support presidential overseas trips. For example, the Air Force’s 89th Airlift
                           Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, flies the President’s plane,
Foreign Trips
                           known as Air Force One, and certain support aircraft. DOD also transports
                           vehicles and other equipment to the countries to be visited on its cargo
                           aircraft and provides aerial refueling when needed. DOD may also deploy
                           servicemembers to provide other support such as maintenance, logistics,
                           explosive ordnance disposal, and medical and other support.

                           In addition, the White House Military Office sends officials from the White
                           House Communications Agency to establish and maintain
                           communications; the White House Mess to prepare some meals for the
                           President and members of the first family; the White House Transportation
                           Agency primarily to support security of cargo and materials on the
                           President’s plane and the support planes; the White House Medical Unit to
                           provide health services, if needed; and the Marine Corps’ Helicopter
                           Squadron One to provide in-country movement of the President and
                           members of the official delegation when needed. Staff from these White
                           House support offices are generally active duty servicemembers, and DOD
                           pays their travel expenses.




                           Page 4                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                              B-282773




                              The Department of State provides a variety of support for presidential
                              travel to foreign destinations. First, State’s Presidential Travel Support
                              Services Office provides administrative support to White House and State
                              members of an advance team. This support includes making travel
                              arrangements, communicating with the embassy in the country to be
                              visited, and processing travel orders and vouchers required for White
                              House and some State travelers. In addition, State pays the travel expenses
                              of most White House and State officials on the advance trips or on the trip
                              with the President. The U.S. embassy in the country to be visited
                              (1) procures in-country support such as lodging, telecommunications,
                              transportation, and other equipment and (2) assists White House and State
                              employees in coordinating the agenda with the host government. The State
                              Department’s regional financial service centers1 disburse other agencies’
                              funds to pay the agencies’ hotel, telecommunications, and other in-country
                              expenses.

                              The Secret Service, the U.S. Information Agency, the Immigration and
                              Naturalization Service, and the Customs Service also generally support all
                              presidential trips. The Secret Service provides personal security for the
                              President and protectees. The U.S. Information Agency supports U.S. news
                              media organizations whose representatives accompany the President. This
                              support usually consists of organizing press briefings and arranging for
                              lodging, transportation, telecommunications, and interpreters. Under
                              agency guidelines, some of the cost of logistical support for the news media
                              is to be reimbursed to the government by media organizations. The
                              Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Customs Service generally
                              send inspectors to accompany the presidential party and facilitate reentry
                              into the United States by stamping passports and collecting import duties
                              from officials, news media representatives, and any private citizens
                              accompanying the President.


Other Agency Support for      While some agencies participate in all foreign trips, other federal agencies
Presidential Foreign Travel   may participate in or otherwise support certain trips but not others. This
                              support varies from trip to trip and is somewhat dependent on the goals
                              and agenda of the planned trip. For example, if trade relations are a trip
                              agenda item, the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture and officials
                              from the U.S. Trade Representative may accompany the President. Cabinet


                              1
                              These centers are located in Paris, France; Bangkok, Thailand; and Charleston, South
                              Carolina.




                              Page 5                                             GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                      B-282773




                      secretaries or other agency heads may also take some agency staff to assist
                      the agency heads in preparing for discussions of issues with
                      representatives of the host government or to perform other duties.
                      Agencies whose officials are part of the official delegation may also, on
                      occasion, have missions of their own to address while accompanying the
                      President.



The Cost of the       Beginning March 22, 1998, through April 2, 1998, the President and his
                      delegation visited Ghana, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, and
President’s Trip to   Senegal. According to the administration, the purpose of the trip was to
Africa                (1) help reshape the way Americans think about Africa; (2) show U.S.
                      support for emerging democracies; (3) promote U.S. investment, trade, and
                      economic growth in Africa; (4) promote education; and (5) promote
                      conflict resolution and human rights. White House officials stated that this
                      was the most extensive trip by an American President to the African
                      continent.

                      They also stated that the President held summit meetings with the heads of
                      states of the six countries visited, and cohosted, with Uganda’s President
                      Museveni, a regional summit meeting with the heads of state or
                      governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and the
                      Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Secretary General of the
                      Organization of African Unity. In addition, the President participated in
                      other events that included an open-air speech to about 500,000 people in
                      Ghana; visits to schools and housing projects; and meetings with human
                      rights activists, environmentalists, and survivors of the Rwandan genocide.
                      He also dedicated the first U.S. Trade Center on the African continent in
                      Johannesburg, South Africa; signed agreements; and announced a number
                      of initiatives.




                      Page 6                                      GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
B-282773




State, White House, Secret Service, and/or DOD officials were members of
10 separate advance teams that traveled from January 1998 to March 1998
to prepare for the President’s arrival in the six countries to be visited.
According to agency records, the federal agencies represented on the trip
paid for about 1,300 individuals to travel to Africa as advance team
members, to accompany the President, or to provide other support to his
delegation.2 (See app. I, table 4 for a breakout by agency of the travelers.)
Figure 1 shows the six countries the President visited, beginning with the
stop in Ghana.




2
 This excludes Secret Service travelers. It also excludes Peace Corps officials assigned to
posts in Africa that incurred local travel expenses, and nonfederal officials and/or private
citizens that, according to the Department of State, reimbursed the government for their
travel expenses.




Page 7                                                GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
B-282773




Figure 1: Itinerary of the Official Delegation in Africa




   Sengal

                  Ghana


                                                           Uganda


                                                Rwanda




                                     Botswana

                                              South Africa




The estimated incremental cost of the President’s trip to Africa was at least
$42.8 million, excluding Secret Service costs, which are classified. The
estimated cost of the Africa trip is shown in table 1.




Page 8                                             GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
               B-282773




               Table 1: Estimated Cost of the President’s 1998 Trip to Africa

               Agency                                                              Amount       Percent of total
               DOD                                                            $37,738,016                   88.2
                                                                                            a
               Department of State                                              3,665,155                     8.6
               U.S. Information Agency                                             986,606                    2.3
                                                                                            b
               Executive Office of the President                                  122,235                     0.3
               Department of Commerce                                              120,101                    0.3
               Agency for International Development                                 57,298                    0.1
               Department of Transportation                                         53,896                    0.1
               Department of Labor                                                  40,430                    0.1
                                                                                                                c
               Peace Corps                                                          11,977
                                                                                                                c
               Department of the Treasury                                             7,450
                                                                                                                c
               Department of Agriculture                                              1,071
                                                                                                                c
               Immigration and Naturalization Service                                   928
                                                                                                                c
               Customs Service                                                          829
                                                                                           d
               Total reported to GAO                                         $42,805,992                     100


               a
                The State Department paid the travel costs of Members of Congress that accompanied the President.
               Where information was incomplete, we used the amount State obligated to pay for specific travelers
               rather than actual amounts in this estimate.
               b
                   Includes expenses incurred by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
               c
                Less than 0.1 percent.
               d
                   Excludes Secret Service costs.
               Source: Agencies shown in the table.




DOD Expenses   DOD records show that DOD spent about $37.7 million in support of the
               trip. About $32.7 million of the $37.7 million was spent for passenger and
               strategic lift and aerial refueling operations. According to the U.S.
               Transportation Command, DOD flew 98 airlift missions using strategic lift
               aircraft, including C-17s and C-5s, to move vehicles and other equipment
               from various locations in the United States and Europe to Africa at a cost of
               about $29.2 million. The Transportation Command’s data shows that DOD
               also flew 110 aerial refueling missions using KC-135 and KC-10 tanker
               aircraft at a cost of just over $1 million. The airlift and aerial refueling
               missions were made to transport 13 Army and Marine Corps helicopters; to
               establish at least four maintenance support teams on Cape Verde and
               Ascension Islands and at two locations in South Africa; and to establish
               temporary medical evacuation units in Ghana, Uganda, South Africa,



               Page 9                                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                      B-282773




                      Botswana, and Senegal. The 89th Airlift Wing flew the President’s aircraft
                      and five other aircraft to transport the advance teams or the official
                      delegation at a reported cost of about $2.5 million. The Marine Helicopter
                      Squadron One reported helicopter and related support costs of about
                      $555,000. (See app. I, tables 5 and 6 for more information on fixed-wing and
                      rotary-wing airlift and aerial refueling operations costs.)

                      In addition to airlift and aerial refueling costs, DOD incurred costs to
                      deploy troops in support of the Africa trip. DOD established (1) Joint Task
                      Force Eagle Vista under the command of an Air Force major general and
                      deployed over 400 servicemembers representing 4 services from bases in
                      Europe and the United States and (2) a joint task force headquarters of
                      30 people. These troops engaged in a variety of activities, including
                      providing medical services and aircraft maintenance and erecting
                      temporary aviation support facilities such as a dome shelter for
                      helicopters. The U.S. European Command and the service components in
                      Europe estimated the incremental direct cost of the joint task force to be
                      $633,369, primarily for travel expenses. The U.S. Atlantic Command
                      deployed about 190 military personnel from U.S. bases to provide aircraft
                      maintenance and aviation services at a cost the Command estimated at
                      over $775,000. DOD explained that the complexity of the trip, that is, visits
                      to six countries, and the need to provide some temporary infrastructure
                      contributed to the cost of its operations. The State Department disbursed
                      an additional $2.9 million of DOD funds for other in-country expenses such
                      as vehicle and equipment rentals, lodging, landing fees, and transportation.
                      DOD’s reported expenses also included about $200,000 in travel costs for
                      servicemembers assigned to the White House Military Office or Air Force
                      servicemembers that provided advance services for the President’s plane.


Department of State   On the basis of data provided to us by the State Department and the U.S.
Expenses              embassies in the six countries visited, we estimated that State’s
                      incremental direct costs were about $3.7 million. The expenses were for
                      lodging, vehicle and other equipment rentals, telecommunications
                      equipment and services, and procurement of miscellaneous items. The
                      State Department paid about $1.3 million in travel costs for most White
                      House and all State staff members traveling to support one or more
                      advance trips to the six countries visited or to accompany the President
                      during his trip, and 16 Members of Congress invited to accompany the
                      President.




                      Page 10                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                       B-282773




Other Support Agency   Other agencies participated in and incurred costs associated with the
Expenses               President’s trip to Africa. For example, U.S. Information Agency records
                       showed that it incurred incremental direct costs of about $1 million for
                       telecommunication and meeting rooms for support of press operations and
                       for staff travel. The executive branch bills the news media for logistical
                       support costs, and the cost estimate of expenses for the U.S. Information
                       Agency was the net amount after receipt of the reimbursement. The other
                       agencies’ expenses included travel, lodging, and vehicle and equipment
                       rentals for staff that accompanied the President, agency heads, or staff that
                       participated in other events. For example, the Department of
                       Transportation sent staff to work on an aviation safety and security
                       initiative in Africa and to promote aviation services between countries in
                       Africa and the United States. Also, Department of Commerce staff and the
                       President participated in the opening of a trade center in South Africa
                       named after the late Secretary of Commerce, Ronald Brown.



The Cost of the        The President and his delegation visited Chile from April 16, 1998, through
                       April 20, 1998, to attend the second Summit of the Americas and hold
President’s Trip to    bilateral meetings with the President of Chile. The Summit of the Americas
Chile                  was a scheduled meeting of 34 heads of state or governments from
                       countries in North, Central, and South America. Agenda items at the
                       summit included a discussion of the establishment of a Free Trade Area of
                       the Americas, the promotion of democracy, and the eradication of poverty
                       in the Americas.

                       Five advance teams of State, White House, Secret Service, and/or DOD
                       officials made five trips from November 1997 through April 1998 to prepare
                       for the President’s arrival. Advance team members visited the Chilean
                       capital of Santiago and at least three other cities to plan for presidential
                       events at those locations. According to agency records, the federal
                       agencies represented on the trip paid for about 600 individuals to travel to
                       Chile as advance team members, to accompany the President, or to provide
                       other support to his delegation.3 (See appendix II, table 7 for a breakout of
                       the travelers by agency.) Figure 2 shows the cities the President visited in
                       Chile in 1998.


                       3
                        This excludes Secret Service travelers. It also excludes nonfederal officials and/or private
                       citizens that, according to the Department of State, reimbursed the government for their
                       travel expenses.




                       Page 11                                               GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
B-282773




Figure 2: Itinerary of the Official Delegation in Chile

                                      Peru                    Bolivia




                                                                           Paraguay
           South
           Pacific
           Ocean




                                                               Argentina
                                Valparaiso        Santiago




                                                                    South
                                                                    Atlantic
                                                                    Ocean




Page 12                                            GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
               B-282773




               The estimated incremental cost of the President’s trip to Chile was at least
               $10.5 million excluding Secret Service costs. The estimated cost by agency
               of the Chile trip is shown in table 2.



               Table 2: Estimated Cost of the President’s 1998 Trip to Chile

               Agency                                                           Amount         Percent of total
               DOD                                                           $8,814,346                     83.6
               Department of State                                           1,322,004a                     12.5
               U.S. Information Agency                                          222,279                       2.1
               Executive Office of the President                                 54,037                       0.5
               Department of Education                                           26,421                       0.3
               Drug Enforcement Administration                                   24,188                       0.2
               Department of Commerce                                            22,039                       0.2
               Department of Energy                                              20,690                       0.2
               Department of Justice                                             13,194                       0.1
               Small Business Administration                                     11,450                       0.1
               Overseas Private Investment Corporation                             6,726                      0.1
                                                                                                                b
               Agency for International Development                                1,771
                                                                                                                b
               Immigration and Naturalization Service                                589
                                                                                                                b
               Customs Service                                                       492
               Total reported to GAO                                      $10,540,226c                      100d


               a
                The State Department paid the travel costs of Members of Congress that accompanied the President.
               Where information was incomplete, we used the amount State obligated to pay for specific travelers
               rather than actual amounts in this estimate.
               b
                   Less than 0.1 percent.
               c
                Excludes Secret Service costs.
               d
                   May not add due to rounding.
               Source: Agencies shown in the table.




DOD Expenses   DOD records show about $8.8 million was spent in support of this trip. Of
               the $8.8 million, about $7.8 million was for passenger and strategic lift and
               aerial refueling support. The U.S. Transportation Command used C-5 and
               C-141 aircraft for 24 airlift missions to move vehicles and other equipment
               from various locations in the United States to Chile at a cost of about
               $6.7 million. The Command’s data also shows that KC-135 tanker aircraft
               flew nine aerial refueling missions at a cost of about $152,000 and that the



               Page 13                                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                       B-282773




                       89th Airlift Wing flew the President’s plane and two others at a cost of
                       about $948,000. The remaining approximately $1 million in costs consisted
                       of helicopter support from the Marine Helicopter Squadron One; travel for
                       DOD staff assigned to the White House Military Office, Joint Staff, and Air
                       Force headquarters; and other support. (See app. II, tables 8 and 9, for
                       more information on fixed- and rotary-wing airlift and aerial refueling
                       costs.)


Department of State    On the basis of data provided to us by the State Department and the U.S.
Expenses               embassy in Chile, we estimated that State’s incremental direct costs were
                       about $1.3 million to support the Chile trip. The expenses were for lodging,
                       vehicle rentals and other transportation services, telecommunications
                       equipment rentals and services, and a variety of other items. The State
                       Department paid over $300,000 for most White House and all State staff
                       members traveling to support one or more of the advance trips to Chile or
                       to accompany the President during his trip, and 5 Members of Congress
                       invited to accompany the President.


Other Support Agency   Other agencies participated in and incurred costs associated with the
Expenses               President’s trip to Chile. For example, the U.S. Information Agency spent
                       about $222,000 to support the trip. The agency’s support expenses included
                       rentals of rooms for the press and telecommunications services to support
                       press operations and staff travel. The executive branch billed the news
                       media for the cost of logistical support provided to them, and the estimate
                       of expenses for the U.S. Information Agency was the net amount after
                       receipt of the reimbursement. The expenses included travel, lodging, and
                       vehicle and equipment rentals for staff that accompanied the President,
                       agency heads, or staff that participated in other events. For example,
                       Department of Education staff provided support because an education
                       initiative was an agenda item for the Summit of the Americas.



The Cost of the        The President and his delegation visited China from June 25, 1998, through
                       July 3, 1998, to conduct bilateral talks with the President of China and for
President’s Trip to    other purposes. According to the White House, the President traveled to
China                  China to build on discussions at the October 1997 summit held in
                       Washington, D.C., with President Jiang Zemin. Issues discussed were
                       security, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, economics and
                       trade, energy and environment, science and technology, and law



                       Page 14                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
B-282773




enforcement. Each of the accompanying agencies represented on the trip
had specific missions designed to further the overall agenda or was tasked
to provide logistical support.

Eight separate teams from the State Department, White House, Secret
Service, and/or DOD made advance trips to Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin,
and Hong Kong from April 1998 through June 1998. According to agency
records, the federal agencies represented on the trip paid for about 500
individuals to travel to China as advance team members, to accompany the
President, or provide other support to his delegation.4 (See app. III, table 10
for a breakout by agency of the travelers.) Figure 3 shows the major
locations visited by the President, beginning with the delegation’s stop in
Xi’an.


Figure 3: Itinerary of the Official Delegation in China




                                                          Beijing


                                                      Xian

                                                                      Shanghai


                                             Guilin

                                                             Hong Kong


The estimated incremental cost of the President’s trip to China was at least
$18.8 million, excluding Secret Service costs. The estimated cost of the
China trip by agency is shown in table 3.




4
 This excludes Secret Service travelers. It also excludes nonfederal officials and/or private
citizens that, according to the Department of State, reimbursed the government for their
travel expenses.




Page 15                                               GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
               B-282773




               Table 3: Estimate of the Cost of the President’s 1998 Trip to China

               Agency                                                            Amount            Percent of total
               DOD                                                          $14,007,128                         74.4
                                                                                          a
               Department of State                                            3,601,588                         19.1
               U.S. Information Agency                                           983,835                             5.2
               Department of the Treasury                                          70,517                            0.4
               Executive Office of the President                                  63,099b                            0.3
               Department of Agriculture                                           57,250                            0.3
               Department of Commerce                                              39,098                            0.2
                                                                                                                       c
               Department of Energy                                                 2,534
                                                                                                                       c
               Peace Corps                                                          2,254
                                                                                                                       c
               Customs Service                                                      1,942
                                                                                                                       c
               Immigration and Naturalization Service                                 847
                                                                                          d                            e
               Total reported to GAO                                       $18,830,092                          100


               a
                State paid the travel costs of Members of Congress that accompanied the President. Where
               information was incomplete, we used the amount State obligated to pay for specific travelers rather
               than actual amounts in this estimate.
               b
                   Includes expenses incurred by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
               c
                Less than 0.1 percent.
               d
                   Excludes Secret Service costs.
               e
                   May not add due to rounding.
               Source: Agencies shown in the table.




DOD Expenses   DOD records show about $14 million was spent in support of the trip. Of
               the $14 million, passenger and strategic lift and aerial refueling operations
               accounted for about $12.8 million. The Transportation Command’s data
               shows that the Air Force flew 36 airlift missions using C-5 and C-141
               aircraft to move vehicles and other equipment to China at a cost of about
               $10.3 million. The data also show that the Air Force flew seven aerial
               refueling missions at a cost of just over $79,000 and that the 89th Airlift
               Wing flew the President’s aircraft plus three others at a cost of about
               $2.5 million. The remaining approximately $1.2 million in DOD expenses
               were accounted for by deployments or travel of servicemembers to China
               to provide other support required during the President’s visit or for other




               Page 16                                                      GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                         B-282773




                         costs incurred in China by deployed servicemembers.5 (See app. III, table
                         11, for more information on fixed-wing airlift and aerial refueling costs.)


Department of State      On the basis of data provided to us by the State Department and the U.S.
Expenses                 embassy in Beijing, we estimate that State spent about $3.6 million. The
                         expenses were for lodging, vehicle and other equipment rentals,
                         telecommunications equipment and services, and procurement of
                         miscellaneous items such as aviation ground handling services. The State
                         Department paid about $1.3 million in travel costs for most White House
                         and all State staff members traveling to support one or more advance trips
                         to China or to accompany the President, and 6 Members of Congress
                         invited to accompany the President.


Other Support Agency     Other agencies participated in and incurred costs associated with the
Expenses                 President’s trip to China. For example, the U.S. Information Agency
                         reported an expenditure of just under $1 million that consisted primarily of
                         support for press operations and staff travel. The executive branch billed
                         the news media for the cost of logistical support provided to them, and the
                         estimate of expenses for the U.S. Information Agency was the net amount
                         after receipt of the reimbursement. The other agencies’ expenses included
                         travel, lodging, and transportation or other support for staff that
                         accompanied the President, agency heads, or staff that participated in
                         other events. For example, the Department of Commerce and the U.S.
                         Trade Representative discussed trade and economic development with
                         officials of the host government.



Agencies Use a Variety   The executive branch does not maintain a single cost accounting system or
                         a set of procedures to track all costs of presidential travel. Nonetheless, the
of Means to Account      agencies supporting or participating in the three presidential trips that we
for the Cost of          reviewed accounted for their travel or support costs in a variety of ways.
Presidential Travel      The State Department and its embassies have their own procedures for
                         gathering data on the costs they incur in supporting presidential trips.
                         State’s Presidential Travel Support Services Office collects and maintains


                         5
                          According to officials from the Office of the White House Counsel, the Marine Helicopter
                         Squadron One did not fly any missions during the China trip.




                         Page 17                                             GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
                      B-282773




                      files that have been organized individually for each presidential trip. These
                      files contain the travel vouchers of certain White House and State travelers
                      that participated in one or more of the advance trips and/or accompanied
                      the President during his trip. The embassies that we contacted in Africa,
                      Chile, and China also maintained files containing such documents as bills
                      for hotels and equipment rentals and for aircraft servicing contracts. The
                      files contain sufficient detail to show the amount disbursed by State for the
                      other agencies’ share of the costs of support procured under these
                      contracts. These records were obtained and summed to determine the cost
                      of presidential travel on specific trips.

                      DOD components that support presidential travel also have information on
                      individual costs. For example, the U.S. Transportation Command maintains
                      data that can be used to identify strategic airlift and aerial refueling
                      missions that support presidential trips. However, the data system does not
                      readily account for presidential missions by trip. To account for the cost of
                      a particular trip, one has to review the mission dates and itineraries
                      throughout the database to identify the support. Other DOD components
                      maintain records that while not specifically designed to account for the
                      cost of presidential support can be used to identify the cost of a mission
                      that supported presidential travel. For example, U.S. European Command
                      officials said that they can account for incremental direct costs by military
                      operation and thus can determine support costs for a presidential trip.

                      Other agencies or DOD components provide an accounting code to the
                      State Department, which the Department uses to disburse the agencies’
                      funds electronically for costs incurred. For example, the Department of the
                      Treasury provided its accounting code to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing,
                      China, for the cost of hotels and other expenses that Treasury staff would
                      incur during the trip. The Treasury Department also limited the amount of
                      funds that State could obligate. In addition, each of the agencies that
                      participated in the presidential trips could provide travel vouchers or other
                      documents showing costs or obligations incurred.



Agency Comments and   In separate written comments on a draft of this report, the White House
                      stated it had no comments, and the Department of State provided technical
Our Evaluation        comments, which we incorporated as appropriate (see apps. V and VI). The
                      Department of Defense stated it found no areas of significant disagreement
                      (see app. VII). The White House and Department of Defense provided
                      technical comments, which we incorporated as appropriate.




                      Page 18                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
              B-282773




              For the other agencies participating in the President’s trips, we conducted
              exit conferences with each agency to discuss how we arrived at the costs
              and numbers of travelers attributed to them. The agency officials
              concurred with the information as presented. We also discussed their
              accounting processes when accompanying the President on trips to foreign
              countries.



Scope and     We discuss our scope and methodology in appendix IV.

Methodology

              As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents of
              this report earlier, we will not distribute it until 30 days from the date of
              this letter. At that time, we will send copies of this report to interested
              congressional committees; John Podesta, the President’s Chief of Staff,
              Executive Office of the President; the Honorable William S. Cohen, the
              Secretary of Defense; and the Honorable Madeleine K. Albright, the
              Secretary of State. We are also sending copies of this report to the other
              agencies that participated in these trips.

              Key contacts and contributors on this assignment are listed in appendix
              VIII.




              Mark E. Gebicke
              Director, National Security
               Preparedness Issues




              Page 19                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix I

Support Provided for the President’s Trip to                                                                        Appendx
                                                                                                                          ies




Africa                                                                                                                  Appendx
                                                                                                                              Ii




               A number of federal departments or agencies were represented in the
               official delegation on the President’s trip to Africa. Table 4 displays the
               number of official travelers that each agency reported sending or that
               reported incurring expenses on the trip, excluding Secret Service travelers.
               The table also excludes non-federal officials or private citizens that,
               according to the Department of State, paid their own travel expenses.



               Table 4: Travelers on the Africa Trip

               Department or agency                                                          Number of travelers
               Department of Defense                                                                             904
               Executive Office of the President                                                                205a
               U.S. Information Agency                                                                           103
               Department of State                                                                                60b
               Department of Transportation                                                                         9
               Agency for International Development                                                                 6
               Department of Labor                                                                                  6
               Department of Agriculture                                                                            3
               Department of Commerce                                                                               3
               Customs Service                                                                                      1
               Immigration and Naturalization Service                                                               1
               Department of the Treasury                                                                           1
               Total                                                                                          1,302c


               a
                   Includes one official from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
               b
                   Includes 16 Members of Congress invited to accompany the President.
               c
                Some official travelers may have spent part of their time attending to agency business apart from the
               President’s trip. Others may have been traveling in support of their cabinet secretary or agency head.
               This also includes officials that may have participated in one or more of the advance trips. This
               excludes Peace Corps officials that traveled within Africa and incurred some expenses.
               Source: The agencies shown in the table.


               DOD provided passenger and strategic airlift and aerial refueling using
               fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to support the Africa trip. Table 5
               displays the fixed-wing support for the Africa trip, and table 6 displays
               rotary-wing support to the trip.




               Page 20                                                        GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix I
Support Provided for the President’s Trip to
Africa




Table 5: DOD-Provided Fixed-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to Africa

Aircraft      Primary                 Missions              Flight          Hourly
modela        mission                   flownb              hours             rate         Mission cost
VC-25A        Passengers                        1             38.0        $34,400            $1,307,200
C-137         Passengers                        2             77.5           9,935               769,963
C-20B         Passengers                        1             40.7           3,348               136,264
C-9A          Passengers                        1             46.5           2,005                 93,233
C-9C          Passengers                        1             48.7           4,092               199,280
C-5           Strategic lift                   66         1,975.6           12,605           24,902,438
KC-135        Strategic lift                    8           104.4           4,051c               422,924
C-141         Strategic lift                   19           568.4            5,349             3,040,372
C-17          Strategic lift                    5           116.4            7,025               817,710
KC-135        Aerial refueling               104            456.9           2,075c               948,068
KC-10         Aerial refueling                  6             35.8           2,692                 96,374
Total                                        214          3,508.9                           $32,733,826


a
Civilian aircraft variants of the passenger aircraft shown are as follows: (1) VC-25A (Boeing 747),
which is the President’s plane, and (2) C-137 (Boeing 707), C-20B (Gulfstream III), and C-9A and
C-9C (Douglas DC-9).
b
 A mission may include one or more flight segments, such as a round trip flight to a foreign destination
and a return flight to home base. It may also include multiple flight segments. Also, the number of
missions does not necessarily reflect the number of aircraft used because a given aircraft may have
flown more than one mission.
c
 According to Air Force officials, the flying hour rates for the KC-135 aircraft differ depending on the
type of mission due to differences in the accounting based on the type of mission.
Source: Air Mobility Command and the White House Airlift Operations Office.




Page 21                                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix I
Support Provided for the President’s Trip to
Africa




Table 6: DOD-Provided Rotary-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to Africa

Helicopter model                   Flight hours         Hourly rate                     Cost
VH-3D                                        28.7           $5,597                  $160,634
UH-53E                                       27.3            3,658                    99,863
VH-60N                                       22.1            4,252                    93,969
CH-53E                                       31.0            3,658                   113,398
UH-60A                                       38.9            2,236                    86,980
Total                                       148.0                                   $554,844


Note: The number of missions flown was not available.
Source: White House Airlift Operations Office.




Page 22                                                  GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix II

Support Provided for the President’s Trip to
Chile                                                                                                                   Appendx
                                                                                                                              iI




               A number of federal departments or agencies were represented in the
               official delegation on the President’s trip to Chile. Table 7 displays the
               number of official travelers that each agency reported sending on the trip,
               excluding Secret Service travelers. The table also excludes nonfederal
               officials or private citizens that, according to the Department of State, paid
               their own travel expenses.



               Table 7: Travelers on the Chile Trip

               Department or agency                                                           Number of travelers
               Department of Defense                                                                             193
               Department of State                                                                              175a
               Executive Office of the President                                                                109b
               U.S. Information Agency                                                                             67
               Department of Justicec                                                                              14
               Department of Commerce                                                                              10
               Department of Education                                                                              7
               Department of Energy                                                                                 7
               Small Business Administration                                                                        5
               Overseas Private Investment Corporation                                                              2
               Agency for International Development                                                                 1
               Customs Service                                                                                      1
               Immigration and Naturalization Service                                                               1
               Total                                                                                            592d


               a
                   Includes five Members of Congress invited to accompany the President.
               b
                   Includes officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
               c
                Includes travelers from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
               d
                Some official travelers may have spent part of their time attending to agency business apart from the
               President’s trip. Others may have been traveling in support of their cabinet secretary or agency head.
               This also includes officials that may have participated in one or more of the advance trips.
               Source: The agencies shown in the table.


               DOD provided passenger and strategic airlift and aerial refueling using
               fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft to support the Chile trip. Table 8
               displays the fixed-wing support for the Chile trip, and table 9 displays
               rotary-wing support for the trip.




               Page 23                                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix II
Support Provided for the President’s Trip to
Chile




Table 8: DOD-Provided Fixed-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to Chile

Aircraft       Primary                    Missions             Flight                         Mission
modela         mission                      flownb             hours     Hourly rate             cost
VC-25A         Passengers                            1           18.5         $34,400        $636,400
C-137          Passengers                            1           20.0            9,935         198,700
C-9C           Passengers                            1           27.6            4,092         112,939
C-141          Strategic lift                        4           73.5            5,349         393,152
C-5            Strategic lift                       20          503.9          12,605        6,351,660
KC-135         Aerial refueling                      9           73.4            2,075         152,305
Total                                               36          716.9                      $7,845,156


a
Civilian aircraft variants of the passenger aircraft shown are as follows: (1) VC-25A (Boeing 747),
which is the President’s plane, and (2) C-137 (Boeing 707), and C-9 (Douglas DC-9).
b
 A mission may include one or more flight segments, such as a round trip flight to a foreign destination
and a return flight to home base. It may also include multiple flight segments. Also, the number of
missions does not necessarily reflect the number of aircraft used because a given aircraft may have
flown more than one mission.
Source: Air Mobility Command and the White House Airlift Operations Office.




Table 9: DOD-Provided Rotary-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to Chile

Helicopter model                  Flight hoursa          Hourly rate                              Cost
VH-60N                                       25.2              $4,252                        $107,150
CH-53E                                       20.1                3,658                          73,526
Total                                        45.3                                            $180,676


a
The number of missions flown was not available.
Source: White House Airlift Operations Office.




Page 24                                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix III

Support Provided for the President’s Trip to
China                                                                                                                   Appendx
                                                                                                                              Ii




               A number of federal departments or agencies were represented in the
               official delegation on the President’s trip to China, excluding the Secret
               Service. Table 10 displays the number of official travelers that each agency
               reported sending on the trip, excluding Secret Service travelers. The table
               also excludes nonfederal officials or private citizens that may have gone on
               the trip and who, according to the Department of State, paid their own
               travel expenses.



               Table 10: Travelers on the China Trip

               Department or agency                                                           Number of travelers
               Executive Office of the President                                                                186a
               Department of Defense                                                                             123
               Department of State                                                                              116b
               U.S. Information Agency                                                                             50
               Department of the Treasury                                                                          14
               Department of Commerce                                                                               9
               Department of Agriculture                                                                            6
               Peace Corps                                                                                          2
               Department of Energy                                                                                 2
               Customs Service                                                                                      1
               Immigration and Naturalization Service                                                               1
               Total                                                                                            510c


               a
                   Includes officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
               b
                   Includes six Members of Congress invited to accompany the President.
               c
               Some official travelers may have spent part of their time attending to agency business apart from the
               President’s trip. Others may have been traveling in support of their cabinet secretary or agency head.
               This also includes officials that may have participated in one or more of the advance trips.
               Source: The agencies shown in the table.


               DOD provided passenger and strategic airlift and aerial refueling using
               fixed-wing aircraft to support the China trip. Table 11 displays the fixed-
               wing support provided for the China trip. Officials from the White House
               Counsel’s Office told us that while some helicopters were sent to China to
               support the trip, they were not used.




               Page 25                                                         GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix III
Support Provided for the President’s Trip to
China




Table 11: DOD-Provided Fixed-Wing Support to the President’s Trip to China

Aircraft       Primary                    Missions             Flight                         Mission
modela         mission                      flownb             hours     Hourly rate             cost
VC-25A         Passengers                           1            39.2         $34,400      $1,348,480
C-137          Passengers                           3          113.5             9,935       1,127,623
C-5            Strategic lift                     33            808.2          12,605      10,187,361
C-141          Strategic lift                       3            18.3            5,349          97,887
KC-135         Aerial refueling                     7            38.2            2,075          79,265
Total                                             47         1,017.4                      $12,840,616


a
Civilian aircraft variants of the passenger aircraft shown are as follows: (1) VC-25A (Boeing 747),
which is the President’s plane, and (2) C-137 (Boeing 707).
b
 A mission may include one or more flight segments, such as a round trip flight to a foreign destination
and a return flight to home base. It may also include multiple flight segments. Also, the number of
missions does not necessarily reflect the number of aircraft used because a given aircraft may have
flown more than one mission.
Source: Air Mobility Command and the 89th Airlift Wing.




Page 26                                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix IV

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology                                                             Appendx
                                                                                                     i
                                                                                                     IV




              The objectives of our review were to determine (1) the estimated costs and
              the nature of the costs of President Clinton’s 1998 trips to Africa, Chile, and
              China and (2) executive branch accounting procedures for such expenses.

              To determine the estimated cost and nature of the costs of the President’s
              1998 trips to China, Chile, and Africa, we contacted each agency that was
              financially responsible for the conduct of the three trips based on official
              delegation lists and Department of State records. To determine the types of
              support the Department of Defense (DOD) provided, we interviewed
              officials and obtained messages, briefing slides, planning documents,
              situation reports, electronic mail, and other documents from the Office of
              the Secretary of Defense (Office of the General Counsel); the Joint Staff;
              and the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff, Special Air Missions, U.S. Air
              Force. To determine the cost of strategic airlift and tanker support
              operations, we interviewed officials and obtained flight records, hourly
              flying rates, briefing slides, scheduling documents, excerpts from
              command guidance, and other documents from the U.S. Transportation
              Command and the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command in Illinois and the
              Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii. To verify a sample of data collected from the
              Transportation and Air Mobility Commands, we visited air wings that
              provided significant strategic lift, the 436th Air Mobility Wing and the 512th
              Reserve Wing in Delaware. While there, we interviewed officials and
              obtained flight, budget, maintenance, and other records from the active and
              reserve wings. To determine the cost to operate the President’s plane and
              supporting aircraft, we obtained (1) flight records from the 89th Airlift
              Wing in Maryland, (2) the flying hour rate for the President’s plane from the
              White House Military Office, (3) the operating costs of other aircraft from
              the Transportation Command, and (4) certain flying costs from the Office
              of the White House Counsel.

              To determine other DOD support costs, we obtained the flying hour rates,
              flight records, and other information for helicopters used on one or more of
              the trips from the U.S. Atlantic Command, the Marine Corps’ Marine
              Helicopter Squadron One in Virginia, the 101st Aviation Brigade in
              Kentucky, the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing in California, and the 2nd Marine
              Air Wing in North Carolina. We also obtained the cost of technical support
              provided by the 49th Material Maintenance Squadron in New Mexico. In
              addition, to determine the cost of Operation Eagle Vista, we obtained and
              reviewed information showing the cost of travel and transportation,
              communications, contracts, and other support from the U.S. European
              Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Naval Forces-Europe, or U.S. Army-
              Europe. Similarly, we obtained travel vouchers from the U.S. Pacific



              Page 27                                       GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix IV
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




Command to determine the travel costs of 16 officials that accompanied
the President to China. With the assistance of the Office of the White House
Counsel, we also obtained and reviewed travel cost information from the
White House Transportation Agency, the White House Communications
Agency, and the White House Mess to determine the cost of travel of DOD
officials assigned to these organizations.

To determine the travel cost of White House and Department of State
officials that participated in one or more of the advance trips and/or
accompanied the President during his trips, we interviewed officials and
obtained documents from the Office of the White House Counsel and the
Department of State’s Presidential Travel Support Services Office.
Specifically, we obtained travel vouchers, staff manuals, memorandums,
and official delegation lists. Where information was incomplete, we used
the amount State obligated to pay for specific travelers rather than actual
amounts in this estimate.

To determine other expenses incurred by the Department of State, we
obtained hotel bills, equipment rental contracts, travel cost summaries,
aircraft servicing contracts, staff overtime charges, and/or other
information from the U.S. embassies in (1) Beijing, China; (2) Santiago,
Chile; (3) Kampala, Uganda; (4) Kigali, Rwanda; (5) Gaborone, Botswana;
(6) Dakar, Senegal; (7) Pretoria, South Africa; and (8) Accra, Ghana. To
determine the funds disbursed by the Department of State for other federal
agencies for in-country expenses related to these trips, we obtained and
reviewed records from each of the eight embassies and from the
Department of State’s Office of International Financial Services.

To determine the cost of travel for officials that accompanied or otherwise
supported the President or a cabinet secretary or agency head, we
reviewed travel vouchers and related travel information from the Executive
Office of the President; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; and the
Departments of State, the Treasury, Agriculture, Commerce,
Transportation, Labor, Justice, Energy, and Education; the Peace Corps; the
U.S. Information Agency; the Immigration and Naturalization Service; the
Customs Service; the Secret Service; the Drug Enforcement
Administration; the Small Business Administration; the Overseas Private
Investment Corporation; and the Agency for International Development.
We also obtained and reviewed the flying hour rate and flight record for a
Drug Enforcement Agency aircraft used to transport the Attorney General
on a portion of her trip to Chile. We had to rely on the White House, the




Page 28                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix IV
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology




agencies, and the embassies to accurately report their costs and number of
travelers participating in the selected trips.

To determine how the cost of presidential travel is accounted for, we
consulted the Federal Travel Regulations issued by the General Services
Administration, agency staff manuals, and agency guidance. We also
interviewed officials knowledgeable about cost accounting for presidential
travel in the agencies that supported or participated in the President’s three
trips.

We excluded the following costs from our analysis: (1) Secret Service
expenses, which are classified; (2) regular salaries and benefits of U.S.
government civilian and military travelers; and (3) agency planning
expenses that may have been incurred in preparing to travel. We did not
evaluate the need for any element of support provided on the trips that we
reviewed.

We excluded past Presidents’ travel costs because the records were not
readily available. Finally, we did not evaluate the underlying accounting
systems or independently verify certain underlying data such as the flying
hour rates used to calculate DOD’s flying costs associated with the trips.

We conducted our review from August 1998 to August 1999 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards.




Page 29                                      GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix V

Comments From the White House                                  Appendx
                                                                     i
                                                                     V




             Page 30        GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix VI

Comments From the Department of State                           Appendx
                                                                      iI
                                                                      V




              Page 31        GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix VII

Comments From the Department of Defense                         Appendx
                                                                      iI
                                                                      V




               Page 32       GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Appendix VIII

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments                                                                 Appendx
                                                                                                             iVI




GAO Contacts            Mark E. Gebicke (202) 512-5140
                        William M. Solis (202) 512-8365



Acknowledgments         In addition to the contacts named above, Carol R. Schuster, Brian J. Lepore,
                        James A. Driggins, and Penny A. Berrier made key contributions to this
                        report.




(703259)        Leter
                        Page 33                                     GAO/NSIAD-99-164 Presidential Travel
Ordering Information

The first copy of each GAO report and testimony is free.
Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the
following address, accompanied by a check or money order made
out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary, VISA and
MasterCard credit cards are accepted, also.

Orders for 100 or more copies to be mailed to a single address are
discounted 25 percent.

Orders by mail:

U.S. General Accounting Office
P.O. Box 37050
Washington, DC 20013

or visit:

Room 1100
700 4th St. NW (corner of 4th and G Sts. NW)
U.S. General Accounting Office
Washington, DC

Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 512-6000
or by using fax number (202) 512-6061, or TDD (202) 512-2537.

Each day, GAO issues a list of newly available reports and
testimony. To receive facsimile copies of the daily list or any list
from the past 30 days, please call (202) 512-6000 using a touchtone
phone. A recorded menu will provide information on how to obtain
these lists.

For information on how to access GAO reports on the INTERNET,
send an e-mail message with “info” in the body to:

info@www.gao.gov

or visit GAO’s World Wide Web Home Page at:

http://www.gao.gov
United States                       Bulk Rate
General Accounting Office      Postage & Fees Paid
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001           GAO
                                 Permit No. GI00
Official Business
Penalty for Private Use $300

Address Correction Requested