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Defense Logistics: Space-Available Travel Challenges May Be Exacerbated If Eligibility Expands
James R. McTigue, Jr.
The space-available travel program is a privilege given to members of the armed forces to provide some relief from the rigors of duty when members are on leave. Retired members of the armed forces were also given the privilege in recognition of a career of such rigorous duty. This privilege may, in certain circumstances, be extended to other categories of passengers, such as dependents of active and retired members of the armed forces. The Dept. of Defense (DOD) designed the space-available program to be a privilege and only extends this privilege to space-available travelers when it does not interfere with the aircraft's mission. These aircraft are not permitted to be rerouted or rescheduled to accommodate space-available passengers, and travel must be without additional expense to the U.S. Bills have been introduced in Congress to reauthorize or expand the space-available travel program to potentially include international travel for gray-area retirees (reservists who are entitled to retirement pay at age 60) and their dependents, international travel for reservists and their dependents, and widows and widowers of active duty personnel and reservists and their dependents. This report provides information on (1) the number of passengers that used the space-available travel program from 2009 through 2011; and (2) the effect that an increase in eligible travelers may have on the usage of the space-available program, adherence to DOD's original intent for the program, and air terminal logistics and maintenance. Figures and tables. This is a print on demand report.
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