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SIGAR — Final Assessment: What We Have Learned From Our Inspections of Incinerators and Use of Burn Pits in Afghanistan

February 19, 2015 Comments off

Final Assessment: What We Have Learned From Our Inspections of Incinerators and Use of Burn Pits in Afghanistan
Source: Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction

This report presents SIGAR’s final assessment of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) use of incinera – tors and open-air burn pits to dispose of solid waste in Afghanistan. The facts and concluding observations contained in this report are based on inspections conducted by SIGAR between October 2012 and June 2014 at Camp Leatherneck, Forward Operating Base Salerno, Forward Operating Base Sha – rana, and Shindand Airbase. By addressing at a systemic level the common problems identified in this report, DOD could improve management of solid waste disposal in future contingency operations.

This report highlights the ways in which incinerator operations in Afghanistan were not conducted in a manner that resulted in the most efficient use of U.S. taxpayer funds. Unfortunately, in many instances DOD officials did not take sufficient steps to ensure the proper management of contracts for the construction of the incinerators to address the problems identified during our inspections of particular incinerator facilities. Given the fact that DOD has been aware for many years of the significant health risks associated with open-air burn pits, it is indefensible that U.S. military personnel, who are already at risk of serious injury and death when fighting the enemy, were put at further risk from the potentially harmful emissions from the use of open-air burn pits.

Because SIGAR’s prior inspection reports on incinerators contained numerous recommenda- tions to improve the planning and management of incinerator facilities, this report contains no new recommendations. We provided a draft of this report to U.S. Central Command, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and U.S. Forces–Afghanistan (USFOR-A) for review and comment. USACE and USFOR-A provided us with written comments, which are reproduced in appendices IV and V, respectively. Technical comments were incorporated into this report, as appropriate.

DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies

February 13, 2015 Comments off

DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Today, the Department of Defense released its Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies for Academic Program Year (APY) 2013 – 2014, and announced five directives to further strengthen the academies’ and department’s prevention and response programs.

This year’s report includes an anonymous survey of cadets and midshipmen conducted every two years by the Defense Manpower Data Center, as well as self-assessments conducted by each academy.

The survey indicates that cadets and midshipmen at all three academies experienced fewer sexual assaults in APY 13-14 than in APY 11-12. In 2014, 8.2 percent of academy women and 1.1 percent of academy men indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact in the year before being surveyed, down from 12.4 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

+ DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office

Army releases investigation results of April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood

February 3, 2015 Comments off

Army releases investigation results of April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood
Source: U.S. Army

he U.S. Army today released its months-long investigation into an April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that left four people dead, concluding that there was nothing in the assailant’s background, medical or military profile that might have provided an early warning for potential violence.

On April 2, 2014, Spec. Ivan Lopez-Lopez opened fire at several locations on the sprawling Army installation, killing three Soldiers and wounding 12. Lopez-Lopez took his own life after being confronted by a military police officer.

“We find no indication in his medical and personnel records suggesting Spec. Lopez-Lopez was likely to commit a violent act,” wrote Lt. Gen. Joseph E. Martz, who led an investigation team that interviewed and obtained sworn statements from 169 witnesses, in addition to reviewing materials and statements gathered during an earlier criminal investigation.

Martz’s investigation also determined that no “single event or stressor, in isolation, was the cause of the shooting.”

+ Full report and appendices (redacted)

FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation

January 28, 2015 Comments off

FY 2014 Annual Report from the Defense Department by the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The purpose of operational testing is to assure the Military Services field weapons that work in combat. This purpose has been codified in both USC Title 10 and in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) 5000-series regulations for many years without substantive alteration. Operational testing is intended to occur under “realistic combat conditions” that include operational scenarios typical of a system’s employment in combat, realistic threat forces, and employment of the systems under test by typical users (Soldiers) rather than by hand-picked or contractor crews.

Thorough operational testing should be conducted prior to a system’ s Full-Rate Production decision or deployment to combat in order to inform acquisition decision makers and operators in an objective way about how the system will perform in its combat missions. Under current law, the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) is required to present his opinion on whether the operational testing conducted prior to the Beyond Low-Rate Initial Production decision is adequate or not. The Director must consider all the operational facets of a system’s employment in combat when he determines what constitutes adequate operational testing, including the performance envelope the system must be able to achieve, the various operating conditions anticipated in a time of war, and the range of realistic operational threats.

In 2014, I investigated many examples of recent programs across all Services to identify common themes in operational testing. These themes illustrate the value that operational testing provides to the Defense community. Additionally, they highlight the continuing improvements we have made in the credibility and efficiency of OT&E during my tenure. A briefing covering these six themes and dozens of examples across all Services is posted on the DOT&E website. 1 These themes reveal a common conclusion: OT&E provides value to the Department by identifying key problems and clearly informing warfighters and the acquisition community about the capabilities our combat systems do and do not have. Furthermore, we are getting this information now more efficiently and cost effectively than ever by employing rigorous scientific methods in test planning, execution, and evaluation.

DoD Releases 2013 Annual Report on Suicide

January 21, 2015 Comments off

DoD Releases 2013 Annual Report on Suicide
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its 2013 calendar year Suicide Event Report (DoDSER), which details the number of suicide attempts and deaths for U.S. service members.

The DoDSER also includes detailed assessments of demographic information, behavioral health history, and deployment history for each suicide event. This comprehensive information informs DoD senior leaders as they make policy decisions to improve suicide prevention efforts.

In calendar year 2013, active component suicide totals and rates declined over 2012, while reserve components had a slight increase. There were 229 deaths by suicide among active component service members and 220 deaths by suicide among selected reserve component service members (87in the reserve and 133 in the National Guard).

The suicide rate per 100,000 in 2013 was 18.7 for active component service members, 23.4 for reserve component and 28.9 for National Guard.

The Top 10 Most Viewed DoD Inspector General Reports of 2014

January 6, 2015 Comments off

The Top 10 Most Viewed DoD Inspector General Reports of 2014
Source: U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General

The Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General issued 153 reports in calendar year 2014. The reports include audits, assessments and evaluations covering a wide array of topics, but serving a common purpose of supporting the warfighter and promoting accountability, integrity and efficiency in the Department.

Here is a review of the top 10 reports from the past year, based on web views:

  1. Defense Logistics Agency Aviation Potentially Overpaid Bell Helicopter for Sole-Source Commercial Spare Parts
    July 7, 2014 – We determined whether the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) was purchasing sole-source commercial parts at fair and reasonable prices from Bell Helicopter Textron (Bell).
  2. An Assessment of Contractor Personnel Security Clearance Processes in the Four Defense Intelligence Agencies
    April 4, 2014 – Our objective was to assess: a) how, or if, substantiated investigations of misconduct were reported to Agency Clearance Adjudication Facilities (CAF) and to the DoD Consolidated Adjudication Facility (DODCAF); b) if the referred investigations had been adjudicated; and c) the results of those security adjudications.
  3. Inspection of the Armed Forces Retirement Home
    July 23, 2014 – Section 1518 of the “Armed Forces Retirement Home Act of 1991,” November 15, 1990, as amended by Public Law 112-81, “National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012,” December 31, 2011 (24 U.S.C. § 418) requires that the Inspector General of the Department of Defense perform a comprehensive inspection of all aspects of the AFRH every three years.
  4. Review of Audits Issued by the Defense Contract Audit Agency in FY 2012 and FY 2013
    September 8, 2014 – As part of our continuous oversight responsibility of DCAA, we reviewed a cross section of 16 DCAA audits completed between October 2011 and February 2013, including 5 audits of forward-pricing proposals and 11 audits of incurred cost proposals and other audit types.
  5. Hotline Allegations Regarding Defense Contract Management Agency Contracting Officer Actions on Several Business System Audit Reports
    June 20, 2014 – We conducted this review to determine the validity of a DoD Hotline complaint alleging that a Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) contracting officer did not take timely or appropriate action on several Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) audit reports covering the business systems of a large DoD contractor.
  6. Policy Changes Needed at Defense Contract Management Agency to Ensure Forward Pricing Rates Result in Fair and Reasonable Contract Pricing
    October 10, 2014 –We reviewed Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) forward pricing rate policy and practice for indirect rates for compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and DoD policy. DCMA forward pricing rate policy covers the 353 contractor locations where DoD contracting officers use DCMA forward pricing rates to negotiate at least $70 billion in Government sales.
  7. Navy Needs to Improve Contract Oversight of Its Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Program Contracts
    January 13, 2014 – The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Navy is performing effective oversight of the contracts for its Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Program.
  8. Navy and Marine Corps Have Weak Procurement Processes for Cost-Reimbursement Contract Issuance and Management
    July 11, 2014 – Our objective was to determine whether the Navy and Marine Corps complied with interim Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) revisions on the use of cost-reimbursement contracts.
  9. Opportunities for Cost Savings and Efficiencies in the DoD Permanent Change of Station Program
    May 21, 2014 – The objective of the audit was to determine whether DoD could implement potential cost savings and efficiencies throughout the DoD Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Program.
  10. The Army Needs To Improve Property Accountability and Contractor Oversight at the Redistribution Property Assistance Team Yards in Afghanistan
    March 4, 2014 – We determined whether Redistribution Property Assistance Teams (RPATs) in Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan, have effective procedures in place to process equipment, to include preparation for shipment.

Findings from Existing Data on the Department of Defense Industrial Base

January 2, 2015 Comments off

Findings from Existing Data on the Department of Defense Industrial Base
Source: RAND Corporation

To demonstrate the potential of existing data to provide information on the defense supplier base, the researchers conducted some illustrative analyses using, among other sources, the System for Award Management, the Federal Procurement Data System — Next Generation, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act Subaward Reporting System (FSRS), and the U.S. Geological Survey. Of these, the FSRS is the most recent and its coverage of subaward dollars is expanding as older contracts expire and are replaced with ones with FSRS reporting requirements. Using these data can identify small-business participation in the supply base as well as the vulnerability of contractors and subcontractors to changes in their federal government prime contract and subcontract revenue or environmental risks. Such information can help policymakers better understand potential risks in the supply chain and better shape industrial-base policies. Adding data on natural-disaster risks can also help identify external sources of supply disruption and point to potential buffering strategies.

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