«SEMIANNUAL REPORT TO THE CONGRESS October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 SUMMARY OF OIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS Financial Results Questioned costs Issued during ...»
• identify the FY 2012 funding mechanisms and amounts expended for physical-security-related activities • determine whether the process used to request funds for physical-security needs was easy to use and understood by post security officials • determine to what extent the Department used physical-security funds for high-priority physical-security needs at overseas posts during FY 2012 The external auditor found that the Department funded FY 2012 activities related to physical security primarily with funds received for Worldwide Security Upgrades, which amounted to $775 million in FY 2012. The Department also received $511.4 million from other agencies at overseas posts through cost-sharing agreements.
In addition, other appropriated funds were used for physical-security needs, including funds received for Repair and Construction, Overseas Contingency Operations, and Worldwide Security Protection. The auditor identified physical-security-related expenditures amounting to $76.1 million for Worldwide Security Upgrades and $48 million for Worldwide Security Protection. However, the auditor could not identify all FY 2012 expenditures because the Department did not, and was not required to, discretely track all physical security expenditures.
The auditor found that the majority of post security officials responding to an OIG questionnaire believed that the processes to request funds for physical security-related needs were clear and easy to use. However, a significant number of the officials believed the processes were unclear and difficult, and they expressed dissatisfaction with the timeliness or sufficiency of the responses received to their formal requests for physical-security funding. The lack of understanding, perceived complexity of the processes, and dissatisfaction with responses to requests occurred because the Department had not developed standardized and documented policies and procedures for requesting funding for most physical-security needs. These shortcomings may prevent the posts from addressing their physical-security needs adequately and promptly.
The auditor could not determine the extent to which the Department used physicalsecurity funds for high-priority physical-security needs during FY 2012 because the Department did not have complete information to prioritize those needs. Specifically, the bureaus responsible for ensuring that the Department’s overseas facilities are safe and secure, Diplomatic Security and Overseas Buildings Operations, did not have 16 a comprehensive list of physical-security deficiencies at all overseas posts or a list of posts’ FY 2012 requests for funding and the disposition of those requests. In addition, neither bureau had formal processes to prioritize physical-security needs, sufficient formal processes for coordinating the establishment of standards to help determine priorities and facilitate agreement on funding decisions, or a comprehensive long-range physical-security plan. As a result, the Department could not ensure that the highest priority physical security-related needs at overseas posts were corrected and that posts’ vulnerability to threats had been sufficiently reduced.
OIG recommended that the Department develop and implement standard policies and procedures for requesting funds and responding to posts’ requests; collect and maintain a comprehensive list of all posts’ physical-security deficiencies; develop and implement formal, standardized processes to prioritize physical-security deficiencies; and better define the roles and responsibilities of the bureaus in these processes.
Independent Review of the U.S. Department of State Accounting of FY 2013 Drug Control Funds and Related Performance Report (AUD-FM-14-19) OIG independently reviewed the assertions made in the Department’s accounting of FY 2013 drug-control funds and related performance report, which was submitted to the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in compliance with ONDCP guidance. OIG’s review did not identify any evidence to suggest that the management assertions included in the report were not fairly stated, in all material respects, based upon the guidance.
Audit of Department of State Information Security Program (AUD-IT-14-03) In accordance with FISMA, OIG contracted with Williams, Adley & Company-DC, LLP to perform an independent audit of the Department Information Security Program’s compliance with Federal laws, regulations, and standards established by FISMA, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Overall, Williams, Adley & Company-DC, LLP found that the Department had implemented an information-security program and had made progress during FY 2013, but auditors identified deficiencies that could impact the informationsecurity program and made recommendations to address these deficiencies.
17 MIDDLE EAST REGION OPERATIONS
Audit of Department of State and Embassy Kabul Planning for the Transition to a Civilian-Led Mission in Afghanistan (AUD-MERO-14-05) The U.S. Mission in Afghanistan is scheduled to transition from a predominantly military-led to a civilian-led mission in December 2014. OIG found that Embassy Kabul had generally engaged in effective planning for the transition by instituting a programmatic approach to the transition and by incorporating lessons learned from the Iraq transition. Specifically, Embassy Kabul had established a transition organization, developed strategic and operational transition plans, established lines of communication with other transition stakeholders, implemented a process for monitoring and reviewing transition tasks, and utilized the expertise of subject matter experts. However, OIG also found that key decisions cannot be timely made until the U.S. military presence post-2014 is clarified. Without timely key decisions, the embassy will potentially be unable to fully prepare for the transition from a military-led to civilian-led mission in Afghanistan. OIG’s report did not contain any recommendations.
Audit of the Contract Closeout Process for Contracts Supporting the U.S.
Mission in Iraq (AUD-MERO-14-06) Since March 2003, the Department has contracted for goods and services to support the U.S. Mission in Iraq. According to USASpending.gov, the Department’s contracting activity for Iraq increased from 50 contract actions, totaling approximately $311 million in FY 2004, to 1,604 contract actions, totaling approximately $1.3 billion in FY 2012. Contract closeout, the final phase in a contract’s lifecycle, is a key step in ensuring that the Department receives the appropriate goods and services at the agreed-upon price.
OIG contracted with an external audit firm to determine whether the Department had effectively and efficiently closed contracts supporting the U.S. Mission in Iraq. The firm, acting under OIG’s direction, specifically determined whether the Department had complied with Federal and Department contract closeout requirements and whether the Department had reviewed and identified funds remaining on physically completed contracts that could be deobligated.
The audit firm determined that the contract closeout teams and the contracting officers (COs) had not consistently met Federal and Department contract closeout requirements for the 115 Iraq-related contract task orders included in the review because the Department had not established comprehensive procedural guidance for contract closeout or ensured that existing guidance was accurate. Additionally, the Department did not have a system in place for tracking the contract and task-order periods of performance so that the COs could identify and monitor contracts and 18 task orders nearing physical completion. As a result, the risk of financial mismanagement was increased, and, as of May 10, 2013, $38.7 million had not been deobligated in a timely manner and had expired, preventing its use for other purposes.
OIG recommended that the Bureau of Administration revise Department guidance to provide detailed and comprehensive procedures for closing contracts, to require COs to insert applicable Federal requirement information in all cost-reimbursable contracts, and to reflect the proper steps for requesting an audit of incurred costs.
OIG also recommended that the Department develop and implement an automated application to track contract status from award through contract closeout, and an e-Filing policy and document management system to provide effective contract file management.
Audit of Emergency Action Plans for U.S. Mission Pakistan (AUD-MERO-14-08) OIG conducted an evaluation to determine whether the U.S. Mission in Pakistan had comprehensive, up-to-date, and adequately tested emergency action plans (EAPs).
OIG determined that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) approved the EAPs for Embassy Islamabad and Consulates General Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. In addition, the Embassy and Consulates General made personnel aware of their respective EAPs and periodic planning, training, and drills. However, the Emergency Action Committees at each location had not ensured that certain resources were available to respond to some emergencies.
OIG recommended that Embassy Islamabad and Consulates General Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar ensure that their EAPs are updated and practiced, and that resources, services, and capacities are sufficient to respond to emergencies. OIG also recommended that DS validate the adequacy of EAPs at high-threat posts, such as the U.S. Mission in Pakistan.
SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE
Keystone XL Pipeline Project Compliance Follow-up Review: The Department of State’s Choice of Environmental Resources Management, Inc., To Assist in Preparing the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (AUD-SI-14-20) OIG initiated this follow-up review to determine how well the process used to select Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM) followed prescribed guidance and to determine how effective the revised process was in assessing and addressing organizational conflicts of interest for third-party contractors.
19 OIG found that the process the Department used to select ERM to help prepare the Keystone XL Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement substantially followed its prescribed guidance and, in some cases, was more rigorous than that guidance.
Although in two instances the Department made reasonable deviations from its prescribed guidance, OIG found that these deviations did not adversely affect the selection process. OIG also found that the process the Department used to assess organizational conflicts of interest was effective in that (i) a reasonable review was undertaken to independently evaluate ERM’s certification that it had no organizational conflict of interest and (ii) the process achieved its intended result.
However, OIG did find that the process for documenting the contractor-selection process, including the conflict-of-interest review, can be improved. For example, the Department did not document its internal substantive analyses of the specific organizational conflict of interest issues it reviewed prior to May 2013. Additional documentation would help ensure effective management and oversight of this process.
The Department has acknowledged that its internal formal documentation could be improved and has begun more fully documenting its conflict of interest analysis.
OIG also found that the Department’s public disclosures concerning its conflictof-interest review could be improved.
OIG made four recommendations intended to improve the documentation and public disclosure of the contractor selection process and conflict-of-interest review
process. The Department concurred with all four:
• Enhance Department guidance to more fully articulate its selection and conflict of interest review processes.
• Explain in greater detail the definition of organizational conflict of interest relied upon by the Department.
• Specify in Department guidance the documentation required in the contractor-selection and conflict-of-interest processes, and establish standard operating procedures to capture and retain this information.
• Enhance Department guidance to integrate a process for public disclosure of appropriate information.
OFFICE OF INSPECTIONS
DOMESTIC OFFICESInspection of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (ISP-I-14-01) The Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs lacked an overall strategic focus. A proliferation of special Department offices whose mandates overlap with the bureau’s responsibilities led to confusion and duplication. Bureau structure and staffing reflected outdated missions and priorities, and stronger leadership was required on trade and finance. OIG made recommendations to redeploy resources and streamline bureau operations.
Inspection of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (ISP-I-14-06) The mission of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations was unclear to many in the Department and to interagency partners. The bureau did not follow Department regulations and procedures in several areas, including travel and hiring.
The team identified weaknesses in contractor management, including oversight, security-clearance vetting, performance of inherently governmental functions, and contract files. OIG made recommendations to address these deficiencies.