Report | Sept. 23, 2013

The U.S. Air Force Academy Lacked Effective Controls Over Heritage Assets and Guest House Inventories, and Inappropriately Solicited and Accepted Monetary Gifts

DODIG-2013-138

Objective

We determined whether the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), its nonappropriated fund instrumentalities (NAFIs), and its supporting nonprofit organizations were properly accepting, recording, reporting, and disbursing donations, gifts, and nonappropriated funds.

Findings

USAFA, its NAFIs, and its supporting nonprofit organizations had adequate controls over some aspects of their gift and nonappropriated fund processes. However, improvements could be made regarding accepting, recording, reporting, and conserving heritage assets; recording guest house inventories; awarding contracts using monetary gifts; soliciting and accepting monetary gifts; and reporting nonmonetary gifts of services.

USAFA did not have effective controls for accepting, recording, reporting, and conserving heritage assets. This occurred because the USAFA Superintendent, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF) Director, and the USAFA Director of Communications did not provide adequate oversight of the USAFA Heritage Program. As a result, heritage assets are subject to misplacement, deterioration, destruction, and theft.  

USAFA did not have adequate records for guest house furnishings purchased with monetary gifts. This occurred because the USAFA Superintendent did not appoint the appropriate property accountability personnel. As a result, guest house furnishings are subject to misuse, loss, and theft.  

USAFA Development and Alumni Programs (CMA) officials inappropriately entered into contracts and modifications using monetary gifts without proper authority. This occurred because USAFA CMA officials were unaware that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) criteria applied to gift fund contracts. As a result, CMA officials created unauthorized contracting actions valued at approximately $387,000.  

The Air Force Academy Athletic Association (AFAAA) personnel inappropriately solicited, accepted, recorded, and reported over $532,000 in monetary gifts. This occurred because AFAAA personnel were not familiar with DoD and Air Force requirements prohibiting the solicitation of gifts. AFAAA accounting staff also lacked training and experience necessary to accurately record and report the donations. As a result, AFAAA overstated its monetary gift revenue by over $532,000.  

Neither USAFA nor the Air Force General Counsel reported volunteer gratuitous service agreements used to fund academic chairs to Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). This occurred because general counsel staff believed USAFA was responsible for reporting these gifts since USAFA benefited from these gifts. As a result, neither USAFA nor the general counsel reported at least $596,506 worth of nonmonetary gifts of services to DFAS.

Recommendations

Among other recommendations, USAFA should review the actions of personnel in the USAFA CMA office regarding the deficiencies identified in this report, including controls over heritage assets, guest house furnishings, and contracts using gift funds. On the basis of that review, USAFA should take appropriate management action, including holding the necessary officials accountable.

Management Comments and Our Responses

Management comments were responsive.