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USACE Compliance With the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014

DODIG-2018-021

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Nov. 8, 2017 — Objective

We determined whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) complied with Public Law 113-101, "The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014" ( DATA Act). Specifically, we a ssessed the completeness, timeliness, quality, and accuracy of USACE’s second quarter FY 2017 financial and award data submitted for publication on USASpending.gov and USACE’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 OMB 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 USACE SAO did not comply with the DATA Act. Although the USACE SAO certified the second quarter FY 2017 financial data within the required timeframe, the USACE SAO did not certify and submit complete award data, complete financial data related to procurement awards, accurate financial data, and quality financial data for publication on USASpending.gov. These conditions occurred because the:

  • Treasury DATA Act Broker System could not identify or separate the USACE procurement award, grant award, awardee and sub-award data from the DoD data;
  • Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (OUSD[C]) instructed USACE to exclude financial data related to procurement awards from the USACE DATA Act certification; and
  • USACE SAO lacked adequate internal controls to ensure the completeness, accuracy, and quality of financial data certified and submitted for publication on USASpending.gov.

In addition, the USACE SAO did not implement and use the Government-wide data elements applicable to financial data, established by the OMB and the Treasury. Specifically, the USACE SAO did not submit 2 of 10 Government-wide data elements applicable to financial data related to procurement award.

This occurred because the OUSD(C) i nstructed USACE to exclude financial data related to procurement awards from the USACE DATA Act certification due to a 90-day delay in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) for the DoD procurement award data.