Report | March 7, 2019

Audit of the DoD’s Implementation of Recommendations on Screening and Access Controls for General Public Tenants Leasing Housing on Military Installations DODIG-2019-061

Audit

 

Objective

We determined whether actions taken by the Military Departments in response to a prior Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, Report No. DODIG-2016-072, “DoD Needs to Improve Screening and Access Controls for General Public Tenants Leasing Housing on Military Installations,” April 1, 2016, improved controls over the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) program’s screening and access-related procedures for general public tenants.

Background

The MHPI program is a public private partnership through which private sector developers may own, operate, maintain, improve, and assume responsibility for military family housing located inside military installation gates or in the surrounding community.   According to the FY 2019 Defense-wide Department’s Budget Request, the Military Departments partnered with private developers on 81 projects with over 200,000 housing units under the MHPI program.

In Report No. DODIG-2016-072, we made 10 recommendations to the Army, Navy, and Air Force to address deficiencies in DoD screening and access procedures for general public tenants. In October 2017, we closed one recommendation directed the Air Force to review all general public tenants background checks to ensure that the background checks were conducted in accordance with service regulations. The Air Force showed that it directed all installations to review background checks for general public tenants and ensure that personnel used the proper database queries to perform the background checks; therefore, we closed the recommendation.

However, as of May 2, 2018, 9 of the 10 recommendations included in Report No. DODIG-2016-072 remained open.

Finding

In this audit, we determined that the Military Departments implemented some corrective actions that improved controls over the MHPI program’s screening and access-related procedures for general public tenants.   Specifically, Army and Air Force personnel implemented corrective actions for four recommendations in Report No. DODIG-2016-072 by drafting revised guidance to include the exact query codes used in the National Crime Information Center database for conducting background checks and establishing access badge expiration dates for general public tenants that align with the tenants’ lease expiration dates. Therefore, those recommendations are resolved and will remain open until the revised guidance has been issued. The remaining five recommendations—requiring reviews of background checks and access badge expiration dates for all general public tenants leasing privatized housing on military installations—remain open because the:

  • U.S. Army Installation Management Command did not review background checks and access badge expiration dates for general public tenants;
     
  • Navy Installations Command did not provide sufficient documentation to support its reviews of completed background checks and reviews of access badges expiration dates for general public tenants; and
     
  • Security Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters Air Force did not provide documentation to support the results of access badge reviews conducted by the Air Force Major Commands.

However, we are closing these five recommendations because the recommendations require the Military Departments to provide results of reviews performed using outdated guidance of general public tenants who may no longer be tenants.   Therefore, we are making new recommendations to review background checks and access badge expiration dates for all general public tenants using the updated guidance related to conducting background checks and issuing access badges.

In addition, because the Military Departments did not provide sufficient documentation to close the remaining five recommendations, we reviewed records at Fort Detrick, Maryland; Naval Station Mayport, Florida; and Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), Louisiana.   Based on our review, we determined that security personnel had improved their performance of background checks and reviews of access badge expiration dates for general public tenants by using the proper query codes when conducting background checks and ensuring that badge expiration dates did not exceed expiration dates of lease agreements.   However, we also determined that security personnel at:

  • Naval Station Mayport did not document that they performed background checks for general public tenants renewing their leases; and

     

  • Barksdale AFB did not consistently conduct complete background checks for general public tenants because personnel did not have updated guidance to follow when conducting reviews.

As a result, the safety and security of military personnel, dependents, civilians, and assets remain at preventable risk because unescorted access is granted to general public tenants without complete background checks and for periods that extend beyond their lease expiration dates.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Commander of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command and the Director of Security Forces, Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, conduct a review of all general public tenants leasing privatized housing on military installations as of January 1, 2019, to ensure that those tenants receive complete and adequate background checks and that access badge expiration dates do not exceed lease expiration dates in accordance with current Military Department guidance.

We recommend that the Commander of Navy Installations Command:

  • Update guidance requiring installations to document the background check approval process to include the process to be followed when renewing lease agreements.
     
  • Conduct a review of all general public tenants leasing privatized housing on military installations as of January 1, 2019, to ensure that those tenants receive complete and adequate background checks and that access badge expiration dates do not exceed lease expiration dates in accordance with Navy Installations Command guidance.

     

Management Comments and Our Response

The Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command and the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management, Army Housing Division Chief agreed with the recommendation to conduct a review of all general public tenants leasing privatized housing as of January 1, 2019. Management’s comments addressed the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation is resolved but will remain open. We will close this recommendation once we verify that the Army has reviewed all general public tenants’ background checks and badge expiration dates.

The Deputy Director of Security Forces, Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection partially agreed with the recommendation to conduct a review of all general public tenants leasing privatized housing on military installations as of January 1, 2019. The Deputy Director agreed that a review of compliance with policy is necessary but disagreed with the recommendation to conduct a review of all general public tenants on every Air Force installation. The Deputy Director proposed the use of a risk-based sampling strategy to conduct a review. Management’s comments did not address the specifics of the recommendation; therefore, the recommendation remains unresolved. Reviewing a sample of general public tenants would not provide the level of assurance needed to ensure the security and safety of military personnel, dependents, civilians, and assets that a review of all general public tenants would provide.   We request that the Deputy Director reconsider his position on the recommendation and provide comments on the final report.

The Commander, Navy Installations Command, Inspector General, responding for the Commander, Navy Installations Command, agreed with the recommendation to update guidance, stating that the Commander, Navy Installations Command, prepared new guidance that requires installations to document the background check approval process, including the process to be followed when renewing lease agreements, and expects to issue the guidance by May 2019.

The Inspector General also agreed with the recommendation to conduct a review of all general public tenants leasing privatized housing as of January 1, 2019.

Management’s comments addressed the specifics of the recommendations; therefore, the recommendations are resolved but will remain open. We will close these recommendations when we review the updated guidance and confirm that the Navy has reviewed all general public tenants’ background checks and badge expiration dates.

This report is a result of Project No. D2018-D000RL-0149.000.