IG urges more acquisition transparency at DIA

Use and Control of Intragovernmental Purchases at the Defense Intelligence Agency (.pdf)

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The Defense Intelligence Agency needs a more transparent process for procuring goods and services from agencies in and outside the Defense Department, according to a May 18 report by the Pentagon’s inspector general.

“DIA needs to improve acquisition-planning documentation and ensure funds [are] properly used and accounted for correctly when using” Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests, the report states.

DOD officials commonly use the requests to ask for goods and services from agencies. In 2005, some lawmakers became concerned that the process could lead to improprieties.

According to the IG report, DIA officials issued 2,058 interagency requests –- totaling $1.5 billion -- between Oct. 1, 2002, and June 30, 2005. During that same period, DIA received 596 requests, valued at $222.4 million, from other agencies.

A review of 43 outgoing requests worth a combined $405 million showed that “DIA did not adequately plan the acquisitions, may have improperly used funds for the acquisitions, and did not properly record and account for transactions in the accounting system,” the IG report states. “As a result, there was no reasonable assurance that all the procurements were in the best interest of the government.”

Michele Platt, DIA’s chief financial executive, agreed that agency officials should plan better for interagency acquisitions and record them in the agency’s accounting system.

However, she disagreed with many other issues raised in the report, including allegations that DIA improperly used an IOU process to pay for goods and services when it was unclear whether funds were available for the purchases.

Platt added that agency officials no longer use that process.

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