DOD Can Combat Fraud Better by Strengthening Its Investigative Agencies

AFMD-83-33: Published: Mar 21, 1983. Publicly Released: Apr 20, 1983.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed efforts of the Army, Navy, and Air Force investigative agencies to combat fraud.

The Department of Defense (DOD) has four separate criminal investigative agencies to prevent, detect, and investigate fraud in its operations. GAO found that one way these agencies could strengthen their fraud investigations would be to limit them to cases involving significant allegations. Some problems that hinder criminal investigators in pursuing fraud in DOD programs include the requirement that the Navy and Air Force criminal investigators seek a commanding officer's request to conduct an investigation before proceeding; Army investigators must receive approval before they can investigate high-ranking officials. A criminal investigator is hindered by virtually nonexistent U.S. legal jurisdiction over the civilians accompanying the Armed Forces overseas. Further, investigators do not follow up to see whether there is an adequate response to their findings. GAO believes that efforts to combat fraud in DOD could be strengthened if the criminal investigators operated more independently. Compared with the inspector general organizations, those who investigate fraud in the Army, Navy, and Air Force are less independent of operations.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Congressional interest in this legislation continues; however, the legislation has not gone very far since the two GAO reports recommended it. Further monitoring of the status of this recommendation is no longer warranted.

    Matter: Congress should enact legislation to extend criminal jurisdiction over U.S. citizen civilian employees and dependents accompanying the Armed Forces overseas.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a May 17, 1985, memorandum to the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force, the Secretary of Defense ordered them to remove the requirement of prior command request for their criminal investigative organizations. The Secretary did not think that the Army had a similar requirement.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Navy, and Army to authorize their investigative agencies to conduct investigations and surveys and solicit information from all available sources without seeking command approval.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a May 1983 report to the investigative agencies, the DOD IG recommended the same actions as GAO. Each military investigative agency is implementing these recommendations.

    Recommendation: The DOD IG should issue guidelines that ensure, at a minimum, that fraud prevention surveys cover all types of operations both servicewide and at individual locations; survey reports are addressed to the program management level; surveys are part of a plan developed by the investigative agency; and surveys identify causes and make recommendations for corrective action.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Inspector General

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On June 20, 1985, DOD issued Instruction 5505.2, which defines responsibility for investigating significant fraud cases and directs each military department to establish procedures providing for the investigation of less significant fraud allegations by alternative investigative resources including military or security police or command authorities.

    Recommendation: The DOD Inspector General (IG) should issue guidelines to DOD criminal investigators that will require them to investigate only fraud allegations that will probably result in prosecutions if substantiated, meet a minimum dollar loss, or indicate larger or systematic problems that must be investigated and refer the remaining allegations to commanding officers, military inspectors generals, or military police for investigating.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Office of the Inspector General

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As of December 13, 1985, the reorganization of the Naval Investigative Service to report to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations had been accomplished. DOD did not agree that it should make the same changes in the Army or Air Force because it believes that they are already independent.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should make organizational changes to enhance the independence of DOD criminal investigators.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The military investigative agencies have developed systems to accumulate data on actions taken on completed investigations. These systems were developed as a consequence of the GAO report. However, no assessment of the adequacy of actions taken is being conducted for each case. The DOD IG may inquire on the actions taken on particular cases from time to time.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, Navy, and Army to authorize their investigative agencies to follow up to assess the adequacy of actions taken by commanding officers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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