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DoD Actions Were Not Adequate to Reduce Improper Travel Payments DODIG-2016-060

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Objective:

We determined whether DoD actions to reduce improper payments in the DoD Travel Pay program were effective.

Finding:

DoD Component actions were not adequate to reduce estimated improper payments in the DoD Travel Pay program. The Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer reported that estimated improper payment rates for the DoD Travel Pay program increased from 5.0 percent for FY 2012 to 6.5 percent for FY 2013 and 7.0 percent for 2014. The estimated rates missed the improper payment reduction goals for each of those years.

This occurred because the corrective actions that DoD Components developed did not include steps to identify the reasons that authorizing officials approved deficient vouchers for payment. In addition, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service did not provide error reports to all DoD Components that made improper payments.

As a result, DoD will continue to be at high risk for making improper payments for travel.

Recommendations:

We recommend that the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer:

  • update the 2013 Remediation Plan to require DoD Components to determine why authorizing officials approved the improper payments and to develop corrective actions to address the identified root causes;
  • include a summary of the root causes and associated corrective actions in the DoD Agency Financial Report; and
  • require the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to submit quarterly voucher detail error reports to each DoD Component with identified improper payments.

Management Comments and Our Response:

The Deputy Chief Financial Officer, responding for the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, concurred with all recommendations. Comments from the Deputy Chief Financial Officer addressed all specifics of the recommendations, and no further comments are required.

This report is a result of Project No. D2015-D000CJ-0184.000.