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DoD Compliance With the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014

DODIG-2018-020

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Nov. 8, 2017 — Objective 

We determined whether the DoD complied with Public Law 113-101, “The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014” (DATA Act). Specifically, we assessed the completeness, timeliness, quality, and accuracy of the DoD second quarter FY 2017 financial and award data submitted for publication on USASpending.gov and the DoD’s implementation and use of the Government-wide financial data standards (data elements) established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury).

Background 

The DATA Act was enacted to expand on previous Federal transparency legislation. The purpose of the DATA Act is to disclose and link Federal funds to increase accountability and transparency of Government spending to the public. Specifically, the DATA Act improves the quality of data submitted to USASpending.gov by holding Federal agencies accountable for the completeness and accuracy of the data submitted. The DATA Act required the OMB and the Treasury to establish Government-wide financial data elements over Federal funds by May 2015. Therefore, in May 2015, the OMB and the Treasury issued standardized data elements with definitions and required Federal agencies to report financial and award data in accordance with these elements for publication on USASpending.gov by May 2017. The OMB also issued memorandum No. 2016-03 requiring agencies to designate a Senior Accountable Official (SAO), who, on a quarterly basis, must provide reasonable assurance that the agency’s internal controls support reliability and validity of the financial and award data submitted to the Treasury for publication on USASpending.gov.

The DATA Act also required agency Inspectors General and the Government Accountability Office to review a statistically valid sample of the data their agencies submitted under the DATA Act and report to Congress on the completeness, timeliness, quality, and accuracy of the data sampled and the implementation and use of the data elements.

Findings 

The DoD SAO d id not comply with the DATA Act. Specifically, for the second quarter of FY 2017, the DoD SAO did not certify and submit complete award data, timely award data, accurate financial and award data, and quality financial and award data for publication on USASpending.gov. These conditions occurred because the:

  • DoD SAO lacked adequate internal controls to ensure the completeness, accuracy, and quality of financial and award data certified and submitted for publication on USASpending.gov;
  • DoD procurement award data were not publically available in the Federal Procurement Data System until 91 days after contract or modification award;\
  • DoD did not update its grant award feeder systems to appropriately interface with the Federal grant reporting system;
  • DoD guidance was inconsistent with OMB and Treasury guidance; and
  • Treasury DATA Act Broker System experienced systems errors that resulted in Government-wide data reporting concerns.

In addition, the DoD SAO implemented and used Government-wide data elements applicable to the financial data established by the OMB and the Treasury. However, the DoD did not implement and use the Government-wide data elements applicable to award data established by the OMB and the Treasury. Specifically, the DoD did not submit the required data elements for procurement and grant awards and did not comply with the OMB and the Treasury Governmentwide data element definitions. 

These conditions occurred because the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Comptroller (OUSD[C]); the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (OUSD[AT&L]) Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP); and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) (OASD[R&E]) lacked adequate internal controls to ensure implementation and use of the Government-wide data elements established by the OMB and the Treasury. 

As a result, DoD spending data displayed on USASpending.gov was inconsistent and unreliable to policymakers and taxpayers. Therefore, taxpayers may not be able to rely on the DoD’s financial and award data display on USASpending.gov to track DoD spending effectively. Additionally, policymakers may not be able to rely on the DoD’s financial and award data to make decisions and effectively plan for mission‑critical programs and operations.