Report finds understaffing in DOD IG’s office

The Defense Department risks significant financial losses and increased vulnerability to terrorist activities because DOD has too few investigators to ensure that criminal activity is detected and sufficiently investigated, according to a March report to Congress made public May 27 by the Project On Government Oversight.

The report describes DOD’s Office of Inspector General as overwhelmed by huge increases in the department's budget for the global war on terrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of staff investigators in the IG’s office has remained nearly unchanged as DOD's budget has increased from less than $300 billion to more than $600 billion, the report states.

Understaffing has produced gaps in oversight of major weapon systems acquisition, health care fraud and product substitution, said Nick Schwellenbach, national security investigator at the nonprofit oversight group. “The Pentagon's top cop is outgunned,” he said.

The report documents a trend in which the contract dollar amounts overseen by each DOD IG contract auditor have tripled during the past decade. In fiscal 1997, there was one IG auditor for every $642 million in DOD contracts. By 2007, the ratio had declined to one auditor for every $2.03 billion in contracts, the report states.

In particular, DOD intelligence agencies, which control most intelligence spending, have experienced major reductions in oversight, according to the report.

The report also documents a loss of capacity for investigating complaints of reprisal against whistle-blowers. Despite a sharp increase in the past 10 years in the number of complaints of reprisal by military whistle-blowers — up 62 percent, from 315 to 528 a year — the number of DOD IG staff investigators who look into those complaints has decreased from 22 to 19.

The report, requested by the Senate Armed Services Committee, recommends increasing staffing levels in  DOD's IG office by 481 full-time employees, from 1,437 in fiscal 2008 to 1,918 by fiscal 2015. That increase would add 235 full-time positions in auditing, 125 in investigations, 19 in intelligence, 50 in policy and oversight, and 52 in administrative and support functions.

To get those increases, lawmakers would have to request them in the defense appropriations and authorization bills, Schwellenbach said. “Congress can make it happen.”

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above