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The Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer Needs to Improve Oversight of the DoD Conference Report

DODIG-2015-069

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Objective

We determined whether DoD reported FY 2013 conference spending in accordance with Public Law 113-6, “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013.” Specifically, we determined whether the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer reported accurate and complete conference costs in DoD’s FY 2013 Conference Report.

Finding

The DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer did not report accurate or complete costs in the DoD FY 2013 Conference Report. Specifically, travel costs for five of eight conferences reviewed were based on estimates that could not be verified to actual costs. This occurred because the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer did not require Components to maintain a list of travelers for each conference.

In addition, the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer inconsistently reported conferences by including seven events costing $1.4 million that did not meet the DoD definition of a conference and therefore should have been excluded from the Conference Report. This occurred because the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer prepared the Conference Report without consistently validating the conference cost data reported by DoD Components.

Furthermore, at least three conferences hosted by DoD, costing $1.7 million, were not reported because the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer used a manual process to compile the Conference Report; and officials responsible for reporting conferences at the Defense Health Agency misunderstood the new reporting requirements. As a result, Congress cannot rely on the DoD Deputy Chief Management Officer’s report to assess DoD’s conference spending.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Deputy Chief Management Officer require DoD Components to maintain documentation to support conference costs. In addition, the Deputy Chief Management Officer needs to establish a comprehensive process to review conference reporting.

Management Comments and Our Response

The Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer, responding for the Deputy Chief Management Officer, concurred with our recommendations and stated that DCMO is working with stakeholders to implement the requirements as part of the next iteration of the DoD Conference Guidance as well as improving the current conference review process. Comments from the Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer addressed all of the specifics of the recommendations, and we do not require additional comments.

This report is a result of Project No. D2014-D000FE-0134.000.