Navy Inspectors General:

Investigations of Complaints and Inspection Practices Need Strengthening

AIMD-94-128: Published: Aug 24, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Navy's Inspector General (IG) organization's complaint resolution and Navy unit inspection activities.

GAO found that: (1) Navy IG investigation and inspection practices need to be strengthened; (2) for many cases, the Navy IG did not assign an independent investigator or complete investigative documentation, did not timely or fully investigate, and failed to follow complainant confidentiality procedures; (3) the Department of Defense (DOD) and Congress cannot be assured that the Navy IG is properly investigating allegations of waste, mismanagement, or improper Navy personnel actions; (4) the Navy IG plans to develop a detailed investigation manual and training course for its investigators to strengthen their investigations; (5) systematic inspection weaknesses may not have been identified because the Navy IG did not inspect several major commands within the Navy's established 3-year cycle and IG of these major commands did not identify trends in inspection results; (6) although the Navy IG has addressed significant economy, efficiency, and effectiveness issues, it has not reported its findings or recommendations to Congress or DOD so that they can fulfill their oversight and policy responsibilities; (7) the DOD IG has not conducted a comprehensive oversight review of Navy IG inspection activities; and (8) an independent review of the Navy IG by an external organization could result in a more efficient use of Navy IG resources.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD nonconcurs with this recommendation. DOD does not agree that Navy IG reports should be given broader dissemination. However, in response to the GAO recommendation, the DOD IG will expand the discussion of the Navy IG inspection activity in its semiannual report to Congress beginning with the period ending September 30, 1995. DOD believes cognizant congressional committees will thereby be advised of significant Navy inspection findings.

    Recommendation: To strengthen the complaint and inspection activities of the Navy IG organization, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Navy statutory IG to provide copies of Navy statutory IG reports to the cognizant Assistant Secretaries of Defense who have policy responsibility for the matters discussed in the report and send a semiannual list to cognizant congressional committees that summarizes inspections completed by the statutory and command level IG.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD partially concurs with the recommendation. DOD agrees that the weaknesses reported by GAO show the need for increased emphasis on investigative quality. DOD believes the improved guidance and training given to Navy IG staff, is expected to enhance the quality of the investigative work. DOD also believes that the planned DOD IG evaluation of Navy IG investigative activities will assess the Navy IG staff's ability to produce consistently sound investigative work. The review should identify any impediments to investigative quality and recommend appropriate corrective action. DOD agrees that complaint and inspection trends of Navy components should be used in planning inspections and that trend analyses results will be provided to the Navy IG on a semiannual basis. DOD believes that these actions meet the intent of the GAO recommendation.

    Recommendation: To strengthen the complaint and inspection activities of the Navy IG organization, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Navy statutory IG to establish an IG quality assurance review process to ensure that complaint procedures are being followed and that complaint and inspection trends are used in planning inspections.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD concurs with the recommendation and has agreed to train its investigators.

    Recommendation: To strengthen the complaint and inspection activities of the Navy IG organization, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Navy statutory IG to effectively implement the planned Navy IG complaint corrective actions, particularly development of an investigations manual and the related training for IG staffs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD believes that the requirement for independence is emphasized by Navy training, investigative guidance and higher-level review of the investigative work, and does not plan to require a separate certification for independence.

    Recommendation: To strengthen the complaint and inspection activities of the Navy IG organization, the Secretary of the Navy should direct the Navy statutory IG to establish a requirement that all individuals who investigate complaints, and their immediate supervisors, certify that they are aware of the requirements to maintain independence and to perform their investigations in accordance with DOD and Navy directives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD partially concurs with the recommendation. DOD does not believe that the DOD IG should undertake greater oversight of the Military Department Inspectors General. DOD believes the IGs are subject to oversight by the Secretaries of the military departments, represent a very small segment of DOD, and have generally been accorded a lower priority in the allocation of DOD IG resources.

    Recommendation: The DOD Inspector General should perform, on a periodic basis, a comprehensive oversight review of the Navy statutory IG inspection activities.

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

 

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