Fast Facts

The Department of Defense has more than 30 inspector general offices to oversee its work. Large organizations like DOD are at risk for fragmentation, overlap, or duplication. We looked for this in areas such as human resources or public affairs at six selected DOD inspector general offices.

We found no significant examples of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication at the inspector general offices we looked at. Most of them use shared or DOD-wide resources.

However, we have open recommendations to DOD on related issues. If DOD addresses those, it could reduce or address issues that may arise in the inspector general offices.

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What GAO Found

Within the Department of Defense (DOD) and its components, such as military departments, combatant commands, defense agencies, and field activities, more than 30 inspector general (IG) offices have been established to provide oversight and assistance through audits, inspections, investigations, and evaluations. GAO did not identify significant examples of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication in selected cross-enterprise activities (human resources, contracting, and public affairs) conducted by the selected DOD IG offices that GAO reviewed. To accomplish the selected cross-enterprise activities, the DOD Office of Inspector General (OIG) uses its own resources or DOD-wide shared services, and the remaining IG offices that GAO reviewed use their DOD components' resources or DOD-wide shared services. Specifically, GAO found that other than DOD OIG, the remaining selected IG offices did not use their own resources to perform cross-enterprise activities because of their limited budget authority and independence from the DOD components in which they were established and their relative size. Based on those factors, GAO found that it is reasonable for the majority of the selected IG offices to accomplish cross-enterprise activities through the use of their DOD components' resources.

In prior work, GAO identified opportunities to reduce or better manage potential fragmentation, overlap, or duplication related to cross-enterprise activities within DOD and its components. While this prior work was not related to the selected IG offices, the recommendations that GAO made would be relevant to IG office activities. GAO has seven open recommendations in this area. Although GAO did not identify any significant examples of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication in the selected IG offices, as DOD works to address these recommendations, its efforts might also reduce or better manage any potential fragmentation, overlap, or duplication affecting the cross-enterprise activities of the IG offices.

GAO provided a draft of this report to DOD for review and comment. DOD informed GAO that it had no comments on the report.

Why GAO Did This Study

The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, enacted in August 2018, includes a provision for GAO to review the cross-enterprise activities of IG offices within DOD. The cross-enterprise activities included in the provision were public affairs, human resources, services contracting, other contracting, and any other cross-enterprise activities that GAO deemed appropriate. GAO was to identify opportunities to maximize efficiency and minimize duplication of effort—including through reduction or elimination of duplicative functions—and any matters considered appropriate.

This report (1) examines selected cross-enterprise activities for selected DOD IG offices and determines whether significant examples of fragmentation, overlap, or duplication exist and (2) determines what opportunities, if any, exist to reduce or better manage any fragmentation, overlap, or duplication associated with the selected cross-enterprise activities of DOD IG offices GAO reviewed.

GAO selected six IG offices to review, including the DOD OIG and IG offices of the Department of the Navy, U.S. Southern Command, Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Contract Management Agency, and Defense Media Activity. The cross-enterprise activities GAO reviewed were human resources, contracting (services and other contracting), and public affairs. Within human resources, GAO specifically focused on payroll (e.g., time and attendance systems, personnel actions, and payroll processing), hiring, training, and performance management. GAO reviewed DOD guidance, interviewed IG officials and officials from DOD's Office of the Chief Management Officer, and analyzed documentation describing how the selected DOD IG offices accomplish the selected cross-enterprise activities.

For more information, contact Kristen Kociolek at (202) 512-2989 or

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