In this report, we summarize and analyze previous DoD Office of Inspector General (DoD OIG) health and safety inspections of DoD-occupied facilities and military housing. We also reviewed audit reports related to Base Operations and Support Services (BOSS) contracts and facilities maintenance. Our objective was to identify common issues and broader findings.
Additionally, we evaluated DoD policy and guidance regarding health and safety requirements for DoD-occupied facilities to determine whether any gaps or conflicts in coverage existed.
The DoD OIG issued six reports from July 2013 to July 2016 related to health and safety inspections of DoD facilities at various locations around the world, documenting 3,783 deficiencies in electrical system safety, fire protection systems, and environmental health and safety. During these inspections, the DoD OIG issued 12 notices of concern (NOCs), detailing 319 critical deficiencies requiring immediate action at 24 of the 36 installations inspected. The six inspection reports identified significant health and safety deficiencies and systemic weaknesses in inspections and maintenance. We found that the average number of deficiencies per building was consistent regardless of location. F or instance, we found an average of two to three electrical and fire protection deficiencies for each building inspected, and about one environmental health and safety deficiency for every two buildings inspected. The pervasiveness of electrical system safety, fire protection, and environmental health and safety deficiencies was the most significant trend that we observed.
Deficiencies in electrical system safety, fire protection systems, and environmental health and safety were pervasive because of a lack of adequate preventative maintenance and inspections being performed at the installations. As a result, DoD personnel and military families were exposed to health and safety hazards at installations around the world. DoD policy and guidance requires periodic inspections of DoD facilities. However, none of these inspections comprehensively examine the effectiveness of facility sustainment processes with respect to the overall health and safety of occupants. In addition to the Military Departments taking action to improve inspections and maintenance in response to the previous reports, we recommend that the Military Departments undertake independent verification efforts to ensure the programs are effective.
In addition, the DoD OIG issued eight audit reports from June 2011 through March 2016 related to BOSS contracts and facilities maintenance, worth about $1.8 billion, in the U.S. Central and U.S. Africa Command areas of responsibility. The DoD uses BOSS contracts to provide facilities maintenance and other life support functions. The eight audit reports identified two systemic contracting and oversight problem areas. First, the audit reports identified problems with contract documentation and requirements. Second, the reports identified contract oversight problems, such as the DoD not holding contractors accountable for poor performance while constructing and maintaining facilities. These systemic problems resulted in increased health and safety risks to service members. The poor contract documentation and oversight also did not ensure that the DoD received the best value for its money spent on these contracts.
Since 2010, the DoD has been improving its policy and guidance on health and safety to strengthen requirements. The improvements include publications that establish safety and habitability requirements for facilities used in support of military operations, environmental policy for contingency locations, and two memorandums issued by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD[AT&L]) establishing standardized facility inspections and priorities for reinvesting in facilities sustainment. We did not identify any gaps or conflicts in coverage in policies and guidance establishing health and safety requirements for DoD facilities.
However, the USD(AT&L) had not yet incorporated the two memorandums that implement standardized facility inspections and prioritize the reinvestment in facilities sustainment into permanent policy.
We recommend that the Secretaries of the Military Departments annually perform at least two comprehensive, independent inspections of installations to verify compliance with applicable health and safety requirements and to aid the DoD in improving facility sustainment worldwide.
We recommend that the USD(AT&L)
· Establish a joint-Service working group to identify and implement improvements in facility inspection and maintenance programs.
· Develop standard procedures or templates for services performed under BOSS contracts in contingency environments to assist the DoD in the development and oversight of those contracts, including:
o identifying applicable Federal and DoD regulations, minimum requirements for performance work statements and quality assurance surveillance plans, and minimum training for personnel overseeing BOSS contracts; and
o developing minimum requirements for a comprehensive risk assessment for each service performed under BOSS contracts and a mechanism to recover funds for services not completed.
· Establish permanent policy for the sustainment of facilities, including standardized facility inspections. The policy should incorporate the requirements set forth in the September 10, 2013, “Standardizing Facility Condition Assessments,” and April 29, 2014, “Facility Sustainment and Recapitalization Policy,” memorandums.
Management Comments and Our Response
Comments from officials at the Departments of the Army and Navy addressed the specifics of the recommendations, and no further comments are required.
Comments from the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment, responding for USD(AT&L), and the Air Force partially addressed the specifics of the recommendations; therefore, we request further comments detailing actions and completion dates.
The Principal Deputy also disagreed with the recommendation to develop requirements for risk assessments. Although the Military Departments are responsible for individual BOSS contracts, we believe the multiple examples identified in this report demonstrate a systemic issue that should be addressed at a higher level.