GAO: NASA needs to improve its internal audits

Audits performed at NASA are not doing enough to detect fraud, waste and abuse, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

In 2007, NASA’s Office of Inspector General returned 36 cents for every dollar spent on audits and investigations, GAO said. The 30 IG offices at other federal agencies average a return of $9.49 per dollar spent, or more than 26 times what NASA achieved, according to the report issued Jan. 12.

The report recommended that NASA’s IG office work with an objective third party to find audit targets that have better potential savings than previous efforts.

The report also noted that the attrition rate of audit personnel might hinder the IG office’s ability to perform successful audits. From 2003 to 2007, the attrition rate rose from 12 percent to nearly 20 percent. The report recommended that NASA officials use an objective expert to find out what causes the high staff turnover.

The NASA IG office disagreed with the GAO’s findings and questioned the depth and scope of the evaluation, according to the report.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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