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Sep 24, 2009

Comments

Former DCAA Auditor

DCAA's problems are centered on the fact that almost all of their supervisor's and individuals running the organization are previous DCAA employees. Their only experience is with DCAA. To call a DCAA Auditor in an insult to the audit profession. The only concern is complying with a basely hourly budget. Examples of this can be found at the Newport News office. DCAA puts these financial liaisons in contracting organizations which the contracting officer concerning them useless. If they had to pay for the position they would send them back to DCAA. It is time for DCAA to go away, and assign this function to real auditors.

gregmacss

If the new director of DCAA is able to transform the current work environment at DCAA, the transformation will not include contributions from African Americans in senior level positions.

Mr. Fitzgerald in his previous post as the Auditor General of the U.S. Army Audit Agency refused to implement internal controls that provided enforcement of Civil Rights protections against chronic workplace discirmination occuring in the Army Audit Agency work environment.

Such controls are very much needed to provide access to equal employment opportunities. Prior to 2007 the Army Audit Agency maintained only 2 African Americans in senior level positions. That number has doubled to 4, but the Army Audit Agency has so far refused to implement the posting and reporting requirements of the No FEAR act of 2002.

Senior Leaders at Army Audit Agency exploit a work environment that has no internal controls to inhibit the occurence of chronic workplace discrimination. Senior Leaders provide a significant bias to white personnel when making employment decisions.

Shadow

Mike, do you really believe? "Stephenson held her own" and "there was nothing she could have done." She could have taken action against the SES person in California by allowing them to maintain their title and pay but stripping them of their responsibility to make any decision or manage. It's very easy to do and does happen, just not in DCAA where problem management is allowed to flourish and mistakes will never ever be admitted or corrected. I'm sure if it were a GS-13, 12 or 7 stuff would have happened. Stephenson is now a laughing stock of inept Government management, who may well stay another 20 years like the empty suit she replaced.

Dfens

How many layers of people watching the contractor do the work do morons need before you're happy? Is 2 enough? Is it 6, 8, 15? DCMA, DCAA, they are useless. They bring the occassional lawsuit to justify their existance. Big damn deal. How much money have they saved me? Absolutely nothing. The cost of contracts has done nothing but spiral upward during the entire existance of this government bureacracy.

Here's an idea, why don't we stop paying contractors more to screw us over than we do for them to provide a decent product on time and on budget? Wouldn't that be a novel approach? If we put the cost incentives on the side of providing a good product, maybe we wouldn't need 50 layers of watch dogs watching watch dogs to keep us safe from waste, fraud, and abuse? Of course, you'll never get one of those watch dogs to propose that solution, for obvious reasons, right?

Mike

Target practice hits the nail on the head. POGO, thank you for responsible reporting. We really appreciate you getting through the smoke and uncovering the truth. I feel bad for DCAA. Contractors really got their way on Wednesday. Stephenson held her own, but there was nothing she could have done. It was a sad day given how hard Stephenson works and the dedication to her people while holding the contractors accountable. She is far more aggressive than Reed would have been. Obviously she is doing something right if the contractors had to go to such an extent as having Collins, Lieberman and Coburn do their dirty work. It was an embarassing hearing. I agree with Dan. Taking Stephenson to task for no change when the assignments were more than 3-5 years old. Sad indeed.

SoCal Contractor

The point is not whether DCAA is "independent" or "too aggressive" in its audit approach. The point is that DCAA needs to put out high-quality audits, in which conclusions are supported by evidence and facts. If they were to do that, very few would complain.

While we can debate root causes, currently DCAA gets it wrong more often than it gets it right. DCMA contracting officers have a tendency to "ignore" DCAA audit report recommendations because the reports are of poor quality and because the contractors provide them with well-crafted, high-quality rebuttals along with credible evidence showing how DCAA's findings were based on a faulty understanding of the facts.

Hiring more untrained DCAA auditors fresh out of college to audit complex, multi-year contracts isn't the answer either. We need well-trained, seasoned, skeptical auditors empowered by their management to use discretion and judgment to unearth the facts, and to write audit reports based on those facts--and not based on direction from a Headquarters that is thousands of miles and multiple layers of management removed from the work being done.

Charles M. Smith

My experience with DCAA on the LOGCAP program, before I was removed, was quite positive. The main problem, which we all experienced, was a lack of resources during the the dramatic expansion of LOGCAP in 2003 and 2004. DCAA auditors worked very hard to review KBR proposals and cost accounting, both in theatre and at company headquarters. They did not have sufficient personnel to perform such standard accounting tests as comparing labor charges to work accomplished on work orders. They were also frustrated by KBR's lack of good data and poor business systems. Despite these issues, DCAA provided audits which identified significant problems with KBR proposals and with the way KBR was conducting business.

A greater problem was the Army decision to marginalize DCAA as a participant in the LOGCAP contract administration process. Examples are:

1. Ignoring the DCAA recommendation to withhold 15% of invoice amounts prior to definitization, as you note above. When this decision was made KBR lost all incentive to fix their business system problems.

2. Replacing DCAA as the financial analyst for negotiation support. The Army hired RCI (now SERCO) to provide the results the Army wanted. DCAA was too independent in this instance.

3. Ignoring DCAA input to Award Fee Boards. Ms. Stephenson's testimony before the Commission on Wartime Contracting makes it clear that DCAA's independent evaluation had to be ignored to give KBR high award fees.

4. Continuing to push DCAA out of the financial analysis role on LOGCAP IV. It is my understanding that the first LOGCAP IV award, for support in Kuwait, now has a major contractor claim for more money. DCAA was not used to evaluate their proposal nor was DCAA used on the awards in Afghanistan, even though the Army promised the Commission they would do so.

If the Army is free to ignore DCAA when they provide independent analysis which does not fit with the results they want, it is safe to assume they would do the same to a Government wide agency.

Based upon the performance I observed, I have no problem with DCAA under the DoD Comptroller. Only if DoD is committed to the principle of independent and thorough auditing and the mandatory use of these audits for contract administration by the Army and all other DoD agencies will we see improvement. Naturally DCAA must be provided the resources to perform this function.

Charles M. Smith, CPCM

Dan Hawkins

"....no one should take this agency seriously again." Really? How about this: no one should take these political hacks seriously when they embarrass themselves by pretending to be outraged over the latest GAO report on audits that WERE PERFORMED BEFORE THE HEARINGS LAST SUMMER! In response to the August 2008 GAO findings and the subsequent Senate hearing, DCAA has spent the last year implementing unprecedented changes in organization and policy to try and address these deficiencies. It would be nice to actually learn whether or not these changes have been effective. Instead, the Senators are using this latest report to demonstrate that DCAA is not doing enough to clean house. Hello? How do they know these changes are ineffective by looking at audits that were performed BEFORE the changes were implemented? It never ceases to amaze me how politicians can so blatantly insult the intelligence of the general public and get away with it. A truly sad commentary. Basically, this was an insult to the hard-working rank and file who have worked during the last year to implement corrective actions and address the problems created by now-retired DCAA execs. Talk about disillusioned. Morale is now at an all-time low.

Nick Schwellenbach

"POGO has been warming up to the idea that the right solution is to set up an independent and Congressionally appropriated government-wide contracting auditing agency"

Warming? Didn't POGO (when it was PMP) recommend an FCAA in the 1988 briefing paper for the upcoming administration?

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