Report | May 5, 2022

Audit of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Execution of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Funding (DODIG-2022-091)

Audit

Publicly Released: May 9, 2022

Objective

The objective of this audit was to determine whether U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Indo‑Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), and U.S. Southern Command officials used Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support the coronavirus disease–2019 (COVID‑19) pandemic response and operations in accordance with Federal laws and DoD policies. This report focused on USINDOPACOM’s execution of CARES Act funding. We issued a report on the execution of CARES Act funding by the U.S. Africa Command and will issue a report on the U.S. Southern Command. See Appendix A for details on the audit scope and methodology.

 

Background

USINDOPACOM is one of seven DoD geographic combatant commands and is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii. USINDOPACOM’s area of responsibility includes the waters off the west coast of the United States to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms. In March 2020, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 outbreak an emergency and signed the CARES Act that provided $10.5 billion in supplemental funding for the DoD COVID-19 response. DoD CARES Act funds were primarily intended to prepare for, prevent, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestically and internationally.

Navy and Defense Security Cooperation Agency officials provided approximately $28.33 million in CARES Act funds to USINDOPACOM—$18.36 million for 23 information technology (IT) improvements and $9.97 million for 75 humanitarian assistance projects to enhance the medical capabilities of USINDOPACOM partner nations. USINDOPACOM officials executed $28.33 million in CARES Act funds to support these 98 projects. We reviewed all 23 IT projects, and 41 out of 75 humanitarian assistance projects based on a statistical sampling methodology.

CARES Act funding guidance—issued by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer, DoD—requires that USINDOPACOM officials maintain evidence for goods and services acquired in response to COVID-19. The guidance further states that adequate evidence must include clear and accurate data of sufficient quality that articulate the need for the acquired goods and services for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

 

Finding

USINDOPACOM officials used CARES Act funding to support COVID-19 pandemic response and operations in accordance with Federal laws and DoD policies. Specifically, for the 64 projects reviewed, USINDOPACOM officials used $26.08 million in CARES Act funds to prepare for, prevent, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, as intended by the CARES Act. USINDOPACOM officials justified the use of CARES Act funds for:

  • 23 IT projects, valued at $18.36 million, to obtain secure desktop collaboration tools, audiovisual and video teleconferencing capabilities, and an upgraded phone system. These upgrades were required to help USINDOPACOM personnel social distance and continue operations in a maximum telework environment.
     
  • 41 humanitarian assistance projects, valued at $7.72 million, primarily to provide medical equipment and supplies, hygiene kits and stations, portable toilets, and technical assistance designing field hospitals for communities at high-risk for COVID-19 infection across the Indo-Pacific region.

USINDOPACOM officials justified and accurately accounted for the 64 IT and humanitarian assistance projects we reviewed. The proper execution of USINDOPACOM’s CARES Act funds strengthens the public trust in the DoD’s ability to safeguard taxpayer dollars and provides Congress with greater assurance that CARES Act funds were spent to address DoD requirements and partner nation requests for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

This report is a result of Project No. D2021-D000RH-0142.001.