Sept. 24, 2018 —
We determined whether the Armed Forces Retirement Home support functions operated in accordance with applicable Federal standards. This is the third in a series of DoD OIG reports that collectively meet the statutory requirement in section 418, title 24, United States Code, for the DoD OIG to complete a periodic comprehensive inspection of the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
Section 411, title 24, United States Code, established the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) as an independent establishment in the executive branch. The AFRH consists of two facilities – Gulfport, Mississippi (AFRH-G) and Washington, D.C. (AFRH-W) – as well as the corporate headquarters, colocated at the Washington campus. Both AFRH facilities designate residential units by graduated levels of care for those residents who require additional healthcare services. These levels consist of independent living, independent living plus, assisted living, long‑term care, and memory support. The head of the AFRH is the Chief Operating Officer, who is subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense.
We found that some AFRH support functions, such as the Resident Services program, the Admissions and Eligibility program, and the Estate Matters program, operated in accordance with applicable statutes and AFRH Agency Directives that provide direction for the above named programs.
However, we found that some other AFRH support functions, such as the Facilities Management program, the Human Resources program, and the Information Security program, did not meet all applicable Federal standards, Federal guidance, or AFRH policies. Specifically, we found that the AFRH did not:
• conduct periodic monitoring of unused buildings on the AFRH-W campus to prevent damage or vandalism in accordance with AFRH directives;
• ensure safety placards in occupied buildings on both campuses contained all the required emergency and evacuation information required by National Fire Protection Association standards;
• develop a Continuity of Operations Plan which included all required elements in accordance with the National Security Presidential Directive 51 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20 and National Fire Protection Association standards;
• develop and document minimum physical-security requirements as required by the Interagency Security Committee (chaired by the Department of Homeland Security);
• develop a Memorandum of Understanding between AFRH-W and a local law-enforcement agency about the investigation of crimes on AFRH properties in accordance with AFRH Security Program policy;
• ensure that the safety placards in occupied buildings contained all emergency and evacuation information maps were updated and were in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standards;
• meet milestones identified in the Office of Personnel Management End-to-End Hiring Initiative, which provides an 80-day roadmap for effective hiring; and
• implement all security requirements for AFRH information systems and networks or properly configure all implemented security requirements in accordance with National Institute for Standards and Technology standards.
We recommend that the Chief Operating Officer, Armed Forces Retirement Home, in coordination with appropriate component heads:
• create a Continuity of Operations Plan,
• determine the corresponding security countermeasures associated with their assessed Facility Security Level,
• develop a Memorandum of Understanding between AFRH-W and a Federal or state law‑ enforcement agency,
• ensure that annual security assessments are accomplished,
• develop human-resource process maps, as well as applicable directives and standard operating procedure to fully support the operation and management of the human resources program, and
• implement recommendations from previous assessments of outstanding security control deficiencies and review actions taken to ensure compliance.
We also recommend that the Chief Facilities Manager, Armed Forces Retirement Home:
• develop a plan for the unused AFRH-W facilities to prevent long-term deterioration and vandalism,
• develop an MOU with the City of Gulfport identifying responsibilities for the repair of the drainage ditch that conveys city storm water through the campus, and
• update campus emergency-evacuation maps to align with the requirements of National Fire Protection Association standards.
Management Comments and Our Response:
The Chief Operating Officer, Armed Forces Retirement Home, provided management comments for all recommendations. The Chief Operating Officer’s comments addressed all the specifics of seven of the nine recommendations.
The Chief Operating Officer comments detailed ongoing and planned corrective actions to address the recommendations.
Those seven recommendations are considered to be resolved but open. We will close them once we verify that the AFRH has implemented the stated corrective actions.
The Chief Operating Officer agreed with our recommendation to develop a plan for the unused AFRH-W facilities to prevent long-term deterioration and vandalism. However, the Chief Operating Officer also stated that most unused buildings on AFRH-W are designated for demolition or renovation and, therefore, AFRH determined it is unreasonable or uneconomical to use AFRH resources to clean or repair unused buildings given AFRH’s limited resources. Further, the Chief Operating Officer stated that the level of inspection and monitoring is appropriate due to the limited resources and the determination that the unused buildings are to be demolished or renovated when leased. The Chief Operating Officer’s comments partially addressed the specifics of our recommendation. This recommendation remains unresolved. AFRH Agency Directive 10-7 is unclear regarding the methods of inspection, the frequency of these required periodic inspections, and how the determination to not conduct an inspection is made based on resource considerations. We request additional management comments clarifying whether the AFRH intends to update AFRH Agency Directive 10-7 to define the methods of conducting inspections and the frequency of the periodic inspections of unused buildings.
The Chief Operating Officer agreed with our recommendation to develop process maps, as well as applicable directives and standard-operating procedures, to fully support the operation and management of the human-resources program. However, the Chief Operating Officer also stated that most hiring actions are not fully completed within the OPM-recommended 80-day target by design. Certificates for vacancies are open for 6 months so that managers may continually pull from the certificates as vacancies arise. The COO further stated facility-level standard operating procedures are unnecessary. The Chief Operating Officer’s comments did not meet the specifics of our recommendation and, therefore this recommendation remains unresolved. Our analysis of available data shows that AFRH-owned functions within the hiring process consistently exceeded timelines for completion. Without facility-level standard operating procedures, AFRH supervisors at each facility are dependent on the shared service provider for guidance on completing hiring actions. We request additional management comments describing the specific actions that the AFRH will take to address the extended periods of time required to fill position vacancies for critical healthcare and support positions.
This report is a result of Project No. D2017-D00SPO-0193.000.