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Thursday, August 06, 2009

More problems reported with Defense Contract Audit Agency

For the second time in as many years, investigators at the Government Accountability Office have found widespread deficiencies in audits conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency, according to internal memos obtained by Government Executive.

GAO issued a draft copy of its report on DCAA's internal control reviews to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday, the memos state. The watchdog reportedly found major problems with the agency's adherence to government auditing standards. The findings are reminiscent of a July 2008 GAO report, which sparked a contentious congressional hearing and a massive overhaul of agency performance standards.

In the most recent GAO review, investigators examined 37 audit reports issued between 2004 and 2006. These reports were chosen for further examination because DCAA leadership had previously "opined the system under review was adequate," the memos said.

"GAO found [Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards] issues with all audit reports reviewed," the memos said. "The extent of the GAGAS deficiencies varied by assignment. GAO believes there were some cultural issues within DCAA that will take several years to change, that contributed to the deficiencies noted. As you know, DCAA has implemented a number of changes that are helping to address the cultural issues."

Government Executive was unable to obtain a copy of the draft GAO report. According to the memos, DCAA field office personnel have not seen the report either. A GAO spokesman declined to comment, noting that the draft report has not been finalized.

-Robert Brodsky, GovExec.com

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