Letter: 'Watchdogs for the watchdogs'

Regarding "GAO gets good reviews for quality": The quality of [the Government Accountability Office]'s work would improve if they had some internal "red teams" examining some of the questionable management advice they've been issuing for the last 20 years.

It is very difficult for GAO analysts and auditors to be objective about programs that other GAO analysts and auditors have developed and recommended over the years for enactment by the Congress — particularly when those programs wind up spending large sums of money every year without ever producing anything in the way of actual improvements in government effectiveness or efficiency.

Programs that come to mind in this regard include things like: the pursuit of CFO compliance (now going on for almost 20 years in the [Defense Department] with essentially nothing to show for it); the required development and use by every federal agency of an "enterprise architecture" (does the GAO have one?); and the required production of a new report every year by every federal agency describing its "financial management improvement plans" (which always seem to keep changing for some reason...).  

One would hope that the Auditor General of Canada and KPMG would have taken a look at those kind of independence issues in their examination of the quality of GAO's work — but apparently they didn't. Maybe we need different watchdogs for the watchdogs.


Christopher Hanks

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