DOD has $1.7B worth of errors in data on, IG says

DOD did not conduct adequate internal reviews of data quality: IG report

The spending reports the Defense Department submitted to contained $1.7 billion worth of errors and questionable data, according to a report from the department’s Office of Inspector General.

In the 2009 economic stimulus law, Congress dedicated $7.4 billion to DOD for energy conservation, modernization, construction, environmental restoration, facilities maintenance and other programs. As part of the law, DOD had to follow specific rules for setting up internal controls and reporting expenditures to the website, which allows the public to monitor how agencies spend stimulus funding.

However, DOD deviated from those rules, wrote Patricia Marsh, assistant IG for financial management and reporting, in the report dated March 23. As of Dec. 31, 2009, DOD “did not have adequate controls in place to ensure that recipient data was accurate and significant errors were identified and corrected,” Marsh wrote.

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Since then, the department has established an effective plan for quality reviews of data, but it does not have procedures in place to monitor contracting or processes for fiscal officers to review the data, the report states.

“As a result, 1,943 recipient reports with a total award amount of $1.7 billion contained 2,914 discrepancies on key award information,” Marsh wrote. Because of the inaccurate data, DOD did not provide adequate transparency and accountability to the public, she added.

The IG’s office made three recommendations to the deputy undersecretary of Defense:

  • Establish a quality assurance plan, with monitoring, to ensure that recipient data is reported completely, accurately and in a timely fashion.
  • Establish policies and procedures for employees who perform quality control reviews and monitor contracting and fiscal officer data reviews.
  • Require periodic assessments of data quality reviews.

DOD executives agreed with the recommendations, adding that they planned to have implemented them by March 15.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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