Special Access Programs:

DOD Is Strengthening Compliance With Oversight Requirements

NSIAD-89-133: Published: May 4, 1989. Publicly Released: May 4, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) monitoring of highly classified special-access programs.

GAO found that: (1) DOD has increased the number of organizations that review or monitor special-access programs; (2) some such organizations have had difficulty in timely obtaining program access; (3) the Air Force and Navy have not fully complied with DOD reporting requirements relating to special-access programs, which has hampered DOD oversight efforts; (4) the number of Air Force and Navy contracts exempted from review by the Defense Investigative Service has increased; and (5) DOD has strengthened top-level management's role in special-access program oversight and revised regulations relating to oversight of and reporting requirements for special-access programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOD issued revised DOD Directive 5205.7 in January 1989, which effectively implemented this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct DOD organizations to comply with provisions for special-access programs in DOD Information Security Program Regulation 5200.1-R and DOD Directive 5205.7.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: DOD disagreed that it is necessary to report annually on programs in noncompliance, if appropriate corrective action has been taken. DOD agreed that exception reporting is needed, but will continue to report on an as needed basis when significant noncompliance is identified. GAO disagreed because past patterns indicate that as needed reporting has not occurred with significant frequency.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) to report to the Secretary at least annually concerning DOD organizations that do not comply with those provisions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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