Pentagon asks Congress to drop plan for Afghanistan IG

The Pentagon is urging House-Senate conferees on the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill to drop a provision in the House measure that would create a special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

The office would be modeled largely on the independent investigator examining rebuilding efforts in Iraq, where the temporary office has uncovered billions of dollars of contract waste and fraud. In May, House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., called it among one of his bill's most significant provisions, and stressed that the inspector general in Afghanistan would "ensure even greater accountability" of efforts there.

But in a package of appeals on the authorization measure sent last week to the House and Senate Armed Services committees, Pentagon officials said they view the creation of the special investigator as a redundant office that would deplete the Pentagon's inspector general of needed personnel. The Senate version of the bill also created the Afghanistan inspector general, but the Pentagon did not address that provision.

The special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction "already competes with the departmental IGs for trained staff, who must also be willing to deploy to Iraq," according to the appeal. "Staffing this new special IG for Afghanistan reconstruction would further draw on the limited pool of trained personnel, with limited resources to mentor and train less senior staff."

Pentagon officials also argued the office would take resources from other Afghanistan reconstruction efforts because the bill requires funding to be redirected from other reconstruction accounts.

The Defense Department criticized the House provision because officials believed it would be an internal organization rather than a more independent, cross-agency entity. The House provision requires the Afghanistan IG to report directly to the Defense secretary, but also gives the office oversight of other federal agencies.

A House aide familiar with the provision stressed the intent was not to make another internal Pentagon organization and said members are working to have the IG also report to the Secretary of State. Indeed, the Senate version requires the Afghanistan IG to report both to the secretaries of Defense and State.

The Iraq inspector general was created by Congress as an amendment to the fiscal 2004 emergency wartime supplemental spending measure. Last year, Congress approved language that would keep the office of the Iraq special inspector open until October 2008, overturning a House Republican-sponsored amendment to the fiscal 2007 defense authorization bill that would shutter the office a year earlier.

According to the House provision, the Afghanistan inspector general office would close 10 months after 80 percent of the funds appropriated for Afghanistan reconstruction have been spent. The Senate bill would close the office on Sept. 30, 2010.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.