The Army Inspector General's Inspections--Changing From a Compliance to a Systems Emphasis

FGMSD-80-1: Published: Oct 30, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 1979.

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GAO reviewed the Army's inspector general operations and found several ways of strengthening their inspection system.

The thrust of inspections by Army personnel at lower organizational levels should be changed. Inspection reports below the headquarters level contained many nonmission related, insignificant findings. Causes of problems were often not developed because the inspections superficially covered many broad subjects in a very short time. The thrust of the inspections should be shifted from a compliance approach to one which would identify problems by tracing them through the system. Some lower level inspector general offices relied heavily on temporary inspectors who took part in the inspections and returned to their regular jobs. This resulted in reduced objectivity. More use of civilian personnel in professional positions is needed. Overinspection and duplication are problems. The Department of Defense policy regarding the release of Inspector General reports as implemented by the Army for this review seemed a workable method for reviewing and obtaining copies of closed Army inspection reports.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should issue directives to lower level inspectors general on: (1) the systemic approach to inspections; (2) the need to identify causes of problems; (3) the inadvisability of reporting minor deficiencies; and (4) the need to allow adequate time for a thorough inspection.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Since the Army is phasing out use of temporary inspectors, this recommendation no longer applies.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should: (1) require that temporary inspectors be provided guidance and training on their role as inspectors, that their work be monitored to promote objectivity, and that they be selected from activities that do not have routine working relationships with the inspected unit; and (2) require that more civilians be used in professional positions whenever possible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Scretary of the Army should clearly define the functions of inspection, internal review, and internal audit and, as much as possible, eliminate duplication and overlap. Where duplication and overlap are useful, the group performing a review should be required to review the work done by any preceding group and consider it in their own work.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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