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

What do you think? Paste a comment in the box below (registration required), or send your comment to letters@fcw.com (subject line: Blog comment) and we'll post it.

Featured

  • Defense
    Ryan D. McCarthy being sworn in as Army Secretary Oct. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Sgt. Dana Clarke/U.S. Army)

    Army wants to spend nearly $1B on cloud, data by 2025

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said lack of funding or a potential delay in the JEDI cloud bid "strikes to the heart of our concern."

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.