“I’m in the process of transforming the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General," said Heddell in a written statement to POGO. "The observations and recommendations made by Senator Grassley are relevant—and important—but they are only one piece of a much bigger transformation that I embarked upon well over a year ago when I was confirmed by the Senate as IG.”
Heddell also said his office "has provided Senator Grassley with full access to our management staff and hundreds of pages of documents in response to requests for information." He also says that he plans to use Grassley's report to try to improve his office.
In an email distributed internally to all employees of the DoD Office of Inspector General this morning—and obtained by POGO—Heddell detailed the following changes he has made to the audit department of the DoD OIG. He wrote that he has:
- Adjusted how it approaches performing financial audits of the Department
- Realigned its assets to focus on duplicative requirements in major acquisition systems
- Initiated audits aimed at identifying redundancies and savings in the Department's spare parts programs
- Initiated processes to improve timeliness of reports
- Sponsored a team to revise the way we communicate audit findings.
"Providing oversight of the Department of Defense is an enormous challenge, especially in time of war. Timeliness and relevance are essential and we are strongly moving in a direction that coincides with this report," Heddell added in his written statement to POGO.
Included with Heddell's statement is a listing of numerous awards given to the Pentagon Office of Inspector General awarded by the Council of Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) and its predecessor, the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE). That list of awards can be found here.
Also, Mary L. Ugone, the Pentagon's Deputy Inspector General for Auditing, whose division of the DoD IG office was targeted by Grassley in his report, issued a written statement to POGO.
“This year alone, our auditors have saved the Department $4.1 billion," Ugone said. "We have placed significant emphasis on life and safety issues affecting our men and women in uniform such as testing body armor and the acquiring of counter IED devices. The work of audit is not just about dollars, it’s about protecting the warfighter.”
Grassley's report is a fascinating and troubling read into one of the government's most important watchdog offices. POGO will be writing more about the Grassley report in the days to come.
-- Nick Schwellenbach