Tuesday, August 29, 2017

DoD Not Doing Enough to Reduce Improper Payments - Seemingly

Last week, Senator McCaskill (MO) wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense in her position as ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee requesting information regarding DoD's efforts to improve the collection and reporting of improper payments.

A recently published report by DoD's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviewed the Department's compliance with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA). The OIG noted that DoD had failed to comply with five out of six statutory requirements. For example, DoD failed to publish the required Agency Financial Report on time due to unresolved disagreement over the accounting of specific transactions. Also, the Department did not conduct the necessary risk assessments and publish improper payment estimates for some of its programs (e.g. travel reimbursements).

DoD didn't seem too upset by the negative report. It defended its actions stating "we consider the improper payments program, as a whole, to be fundamentally sound.

McCaskill wasn't too impressed with that response and asked DoD for written responses to the following questions:

  • Provide an update on DoD's status of implementing OIG's recommendations to reform agency compliance with IPERA including whether deadlines in DoD's action plan have been met, are on track for completion, or have been adjusted.d
  • Describe any other steps, beyond implementing OIG's recommendations, that DoD has taken to address and reduce improper payments.

Many other agencies beside DoD have had difficulties complying with the provisions of IPERA. Refer to "Improper Payments Acts -Government Efforts to Reduce Improper Payments" for additional information on the Act and GSA's (General Services Administration) problems in complying with its provisions. Many agencies have targeted employee travel reimbursements as their highest risk area for improper payments. That is also a concern of DoD but their biggest risk is improper payments to its contractors.

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