39 U.S. Code § 3401. Mailing privileges of members of Armed Forces of the United States

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(a)
(1) First-class letter mail having the character of personal correspondence shall be carried, at no cost to the sender, in the manner provided by this section, when mailed by an eligible individual described in paragraph (2) and addressed to a place within the delivery limits of a United States post office, if—
(A)
such letter mail is mailed by the eligible individual at an Armed Forces post office established in an overseas area designated by the President, where the Armed Forces of the United States are deployed for a contingency operation as determined by the Secretary of Defense; or
(B)
the eligible individual is hospitalized as a result of disease or injury incurred as a result of service in an overseas area designated by the President under subparagraph (A).
(2) An eligible individual described in this paragraph is—
(A)
a member of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty, as defined in section 101 of title 10; or
(B)
a civilian employee of the Department of Defense or a military department who is providing support to military operations.
(b) There shall be transported by surface or air, consistent with the service purchased by the mailer, between Armed Forces post offices or from an Armed Forces post office to a point of entry into the United States, the following categories of mail matter which are mailed at any such Armed Forces post office:
(1)
Letter mail communications having the character of personal correspondence.
(2)
Any parcel exceeding 1 pound in weight but less than 70 pounds in weight and less than 130 inches in length and girth combined.
(3)
Publications published not less frequently than once per week and featuring principally current news of interest to members of the Armed Forces of the United States and the general public.
(c)
The Department of Defense shall transfer to the Postal Service as postal revenues, out of any appropriations or funds available to the Department of Defense, as a necessary expense of the appropriations or funds and of the activities concerned, the equivalent amount of postage due, as determined by the Postal Service, for matter sent in the mails under authority of subsection (a) of this section.
(d)
The Department of Defense shall transfer to the Postal Service as postal revenues, out of any appropriations or funds available to the Department of Defense, as a necessary expense of the appropriations or funds and of the activities concerned, sums equal to the expenses incurred by the Postal Service, as determined by the Postal Service, in providing air transportation for mail mailed at or addressed to Armed Forces post offices established under section 406 of this title, but reimbursement under this subsection shall not include the expense of air transportation (1) for which the Postal Service collects a special charge to the extent the special charge covers the additional expense of air transportation or (2) that is provided by the Postal Service at the same postage rate or charge for mail which is neither mailed at nor addressed to an Armed Forces post office.
(e)
This section shall be administered under such conditions, and under such regulations, as the Postal Service and the Secretary of Defense jointly may prescribe.
(f) In this section:
(1)
The term “military aircraft” means an aircraft owned, operated, or chartered by the Department of Defense.
(2)
The term “United States air carrier” has the meaning given the term “air carrier” in section 40102 of title 49.
Amendments

2019—Pub. L. 116–92, § 1055(c)(1), struck out “and of friendly foreign nations” after “United States” in section catchline.

Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 116–92, § 1055(a), amended subsec. (a) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (a) related to carriage at no cost of letter mail or sound- or video-recorded communications having the character of personal correspondence mailed at Armed Forces post offices.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 116–92, § 1055(b)(3), amended subsec. (b) generally. Prior to amendment, subsec. (b) related to the carriage by air of certain categories of mail matter.

Subsecs. (c) to (g). Pub. L. 116–92, § 1055(b), redesignated subsecs. (d) to (g) as (c) to (f), respectively, and struck out former subsec. (c) which read as follows: “Any parcel, other than a parcel mailed at a rate of postage requiring priority of handling and delivery, not exceeding 30 pounds in weight and 60 inches in length and girth combined, which is mailed at or addressed to any Armed Forces post office established under section 406(a) of this title, shall be transported by air on a space available basis on certificated United States air carriers or, for carriage of mail in foreign air transportation, other air carriers, air taxi operators or foreign air carriers as permitted by section 5402 of this title, or on military aircraft, upon payment of a fee for such air transportation in addition to the rate of postage otherwise applicable to such a parcel not transported by air.”

2008—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 110–405, § 2(b)(10)(D), struck out concluding provisions which read as follows: “Whenever adequate service by certificated United States air carriers and military aircraft is not available to provide transportation of mail matter by air in accordance with this subsection, the transportation of such mail may be authorized by other than certificated United States air carriers and military aircraft.

Pub. L. 110–405, § 2(b)(10)(A)–(C), substituted “or, for carriage of mail in foreign air transportation, other air carriers, air taxi operators or foreign air carriers as permitted by section 5402 of this title” for “at rates fixed and determined by the Secretary of Transportation in accordance with section 41901 of title 49”, struck out “at rates not to exceed those so fixed and determined for scheduled United States air carriers” after “military aircraft”, and substituted “certificated” for “scheduled” wherever appearing.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 110–405, § 2(b)(10)(D), struck out at end “If adequate service by certificated United States air carriers and military aircraft is not available, any such parcel may be transported by other than certificated United States air carriers and military aircraft.”.

Pub. L. 110–405, § 2(b)(10)(A)–(C), substituted “or, for carriage of mail in foreign air transportation, other air carriers, air taxi operators or foreign air carriers as permitted by section 5402 of this title” for “at rates fixed and determined by the Secretary of Transportation in accordance with section 41901 of title 49”, struck out “at rates not to exceed those so fixed and determined for scheduled United States air carriers” after “military aircraft”, and substituted “certificated” for “scheduled” wherever appearing.

2004—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 108–375, § 1071(a)(1), substituted “title 49, or on military aircraft at rates not to exceed those so fixed and determined for scheduled United States air carriers,” for “title 49,” in introductory provisions and “carriers and military aircraft” for “carriers” in two places in concluding provisions.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 108–375, § 1071(a)(2), in first sentence, substituted “title 49, or on military aircraft at rates not to exceed those so fixed and determined for scheduled United States air carriers,” for “title 49,” and, in second sentence, inserted “and military aircraft” after “by scheduled United States air carriers” and substituted “by other than scheduled United States air carriers and military aircraft” for “by air carriers other than scheduled United States air carriers”.

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 108–375, § 1071(b), added subsec. (g).

2000—Subsec. (b)(2), (3). Pub. L. 106–398 substituted “the maximum size allowed by the Postal Service for fourth class parcel post (known as ‘Standard Mail (B)’)” for “100 inches in length and girth combined”.

1994—Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 103–272 substituted “section 41901” for “section 1376”.

1993—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 103–160, in introductory provisions, inserted “an individual who is” before “a member” and “or a civilian, otherwise authorized to use postal services at Armed Forces installations, who holds a position or performs one or more functions in support of military operations, as designated by the military theater commander,” after “section 101 of title 10,” and, in subpars. (A) and (B), substituted “such individual” for “the member”.

1992—Subsec. (a)(1). Pub. L. 102–484 substituted “section 101 of title 10,” for “section 101(4) and (22) of title 10,” in introductory provisions.

1990—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101–510 substituted “sound- or video-recorded” for “sound-recorded” in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (a)(1)(A). Pub. L. 101–510 substituted “sound- or video-recorded” for “sound-recorded”.

Pub. L. 101–509, which directed that “, or temporarily deployed overseas for an operational contingency in arduous circumstances, as determined by the Secretary of Defense” be inserted after “belligerent”, and that “or” be struck out the first time it appears, was executed by making the insertion as directed but by striking out “or” appearing before “serving with a friendly foreign force” to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Pub. L. 101–384 inserted “engaged in temporary military operations under arduous circumstances,” before “or serving”.

Subsecs. (a)(2)(D), (b)(1)(A). Pub. L. 101–510 substituted  “sound-  or  video-recorded”  for  “sound-recorded”.

1984—Subsecs. (b), (c). Pub. L. 98–443 substituted “Secretary of Transportation” for “Civil Aeronautics Board”.

1979—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 96–70 substituted “or the Virgin Islands,” for “the Virgin Islands, or the Canal Zone,”.

1972—Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 92–469, § 1, substituted “15” for “5” after “pounds” in cl. (B), redesignated subsec. (b)(2) as (b)(1)(C), and deleted therefrom former cls. reading “(A) in an overseas area designated by the President under subsection (a) of this section, or (B) in an isolated, hardship, or combat support area overseas, or where adequate surface transportation is not available”.

Subsec. (b)(2). Pub. L. 92–469, § 1, added subsec. (b)(2). Former subsec. (b)(2) redesignated subsec. (b)(1)(C).

Subsec. (b)(3). Pub. L. 92–469, § 1, substituted “15” for “5” after “pounds”.

Subsecs. (c) to (f). Pub. L. 92–469, § 2, added subsec. (c) and redesignated former subsecs. (c) to (e) as (d) to (f), respectively.

Effective Date of 2008 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 110–405 effective Oct. 1, 2008, see section 2(c) of Pub. L. 110–405, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.

Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 98–443 effective Jan. 1, 1985, see section 9(v) of Pub. L. 98–443, set out as a note under section 5314 of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees.

Effective Date of 1979 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 96–70 effective Oct. 1, 1979, see section 3304 of Pub. L. 96–70, set out as an Effective Date note under section 3601 of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse.

Effective Date

Section effective July 1, 1971, pursuant to Resolution No. 71–9 of the Board of Governors. See section 15(a) of Pub. L. 91–375, set out as a note preceding section 101 of this title.

Operation Desert Shield

Pub. L. 101–509, title VI, § 631(b), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1480, provided that:

“This section [amending this section] shall apply to military personnel participating in ‘Operation Desert Shield’.”
Executive Order No. 11255

Ex. Ord. No. 11255, Nov. 1, 1965, 30 F.R. 14135, which designated Vietnam and certain waters adjacent thereto as an overseas combat area where the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in military operations involving armed conflict with a hostile foreign force, for purposes of sections 4169 and 4303 of former Title 39, was revoked by Ex. Ord. No. 12553, Feb. 25, 1986, 51 F.R. 7237.

Ex. Ord. No. 12556. Delegation of Functions to Secretary of Defense

Ex. Ord. No. 12556, Apr. 16, 1986, 51 F.R. 13205, provided:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3 of the United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Delegation of Functions. The function conferred upon the President by section 3401(a) of title 39 of the United States Code, of designating an area for free mailing privileges, is delegated to the Secretary of Defense.

Sec. 2. Interagency Consultation. In performing the function delegated by this Order, the Secretary of Defense shall consult with the Secretary of State and the United States Postal Service, and with the heads of other Executive agencies as appropriate. The Secretary of Defense shall provide timely notice to the United States Postal Service of any designations or terminations of designations made under this Order.

Ronald Reagan.