DOD, IG at odds over planning documents

The inspector general takes issue with DOD's assertion that Quadrennial Defense Review reports meet GPRA requirements.

Report: DOD Compliance with GPRA

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The Defense Department's inspector general is pushing the department to make a more concerted effort to provide Congress with strategic planning documents as required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993.

DOD officials have told the IG that the GPRA-related information is covered by the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) report, but the IG disagrees, according to a report issued Dec. 13.

The QDR report assesses DOD's readiness to address the country’s security requirements by evaluating issues such as force structure, modernization plans, infrastructure and the defense budget.

Like GPRA, the QDR emphasizes strategic planning, in which investments are tied to overarching goals. But although the two initiatives are similar in spirit, they differ greatly in the details, according to the IG.

"We agree that the Quadrennial Defense Review report can be used as the DOD GPRA strategic plan, but the report should fulfill the legislative requirements of GPRA and subsequent implementation guidance in Office of Management and Budget Circular A-11," the report states.

The IG identified eight ways in which QDR does not address GPRA requirements. The QDR report, for example, is not developed in coordination with Congress and other stakeholders nor does it include specific goals and objectives against which performance can be measured. The defense report also does not identify cross-agency programs and related goals for which DOD is responsible.

In response to a draft IG report, DOD officials reasserted their belief that the QDR report provides Congress with all the information they require on DOD strategic planning, according to the IG.

The IG disagrees but is willing to compromise, the report states.

"Although it is our position that a separate GPRA strategic plan would best correct the deficiencies identified in the report, we agree with management that the QDR could be an appropriate vehicle for transmitting the DOD strategic plan," the report states. "However, the QDR report would have to fulfill the legislative requirements and implementation guidance for both a QDR report and a GPRA strategic plan."

Further discussions on the matter are on hold until February 2006, when DOD is scheduled to release the 2005 QDR report. At that point, the IG office will conduct another audit to see if the department has addressed its concerns.

NEXT STORY: DOD reforming acquisition system

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