Department of Defense Food Service Program Needs Contracting and Management Improvements

Gao ID: PLRD-82-3 October 20, 1981

In view of the magnitude of the Department of Defense's Food Service Program and ever-rising food costs, GAO reviewed how well the program is working by visiting dining facilities at selected military installations.

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the military services do not have an effective common means of measuring contracting cost and performance and comparing contracted operations between military services, bases of the same service, and dining facilities on the same base. GAO also found indications that the food cost index, which is the basis for the budgetary control device known as the basic daily food allowance, may be higher than necessary to provide the specified daily quantities of meat and beverages. This generosity and the "use it or lose it" mentality encourages lax food accountability and fosters waste and abuse. Daily head counts of the number of people being fed, multiplied by the allowance, results in funding available for the food service operations. GAO also found problems in controlling the head counts and stopping unauthorized persons from eating free meals. In addition, GAO found that the program had weak and ineffective top-level management and direction. Further, because the funds to run the program come from a variety of appropriations, the DOD accounting systems do not segregate and accumulate overall food service costs. As a result, total program costs are not available. DOD recognized this problem over 10 years ago; however, it still has not solved it.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Robert M. Gilroy Team: General Accounting Office: Procurement, Logistics, and Readiness Division Phone: (202) 275-4268

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