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Department of Defense

Restrict Military Change of Command Attendees

TARGET: US Coast Guard, US Navy, US Army, US Marines, US Air Force, other government agencies


ISSUE: US Armed Services have a time honored tradition of Change of Command Ceremonies. These formal dignified events illustrate the military nature of the US Armed Services and provide participants with an understanding of the uninterrupted nature and total responsibility of military command. It is common for a number of non-essential military or federal civilian personnel travel to attend Change of Command and other similar ceremonies. A number of guests attend at significant government expense and do so during normal working hours. The vast majority of personnel attending at government expense serve absolutely no benefit to the US taxpayers. There is absolutely no benefit to fund travel for employees outside the local community area who attend for their own personal enjoyment.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Issue Presidential Directive or similar order to all US Armed Forces restricting funded travel to attend Change of Command Ceremonies and/or Unit Commissioning/Decommissioning Ceremony attendance. Limit government funded travel to only the designated Presiding Official. Only personnel in local commuting area are allowed to attend the ceremony in a paid status; all other attending government employees must be in a non-paid work status and travel at their own expense. Exceptions to this policy may be considered if submitted in writing to the respective Armed Service’s Chief of Staff.


TANGIBLE Measurable Benefit – Each agency can easily review employee travel claims and measure future cost savings associated with restricting attendance. When considering the number of annual Change of Commands, Unit Commissioning/Decommissionings, Retirements, Ribbon Cuttings, and similar events in all Armed Services and across the federal government, this restriction would easily save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and cut down on lost work hours.



Idea No. 16910