National Security Agency (NSA) Inspector General Robert P. Storch today released two unclassified versions of audit reports finding $3.6 million wasted on constructing a parking garage at NSA that was never used. A second report questioned approximately $227 million in charges arising from the agency’s use of cost-reimbursement contracts.
Parking and Transportation Initiatives
The Audit of the Agency’s Parking and Transportation Initiatives found that the NSA Washington (NSAW) had not identified parking as a priority at its Fort Meade, Md., location and failed to implement solutions to minimize an ongoing parking shortage. The report recounted how, for decades, NSAW employees have expressed concerns about parking. Nevertheless, the OIG found that the agency’s parking and transportation initiatives lacked sufficient goals, plans, and strategies, and that those initiatives had basic internal control deficiencies such as the lack of a consistent process for developing, approving, and implementing initiatives. This resulted in projects being demolished, inoperable, or only partially implemented, limiting or eliminating their value to the agency and negatively affecting employee morale.
With regard to one such project, the audit found that lack of internal controls related to project oversight, risk assessment, and dispute resolution ultimately resulted in approximately $3.6 million being wasted after a modular parking deck, never before built in the United States, was constructed at NSAW and then, due to safety concerns identified after completion but not resolved at the agency, it was demolished without ever being used. In another example, the audit questioned why 50 bikes purchased as part of a “green initiative” to provide NSA government employees with transportation between NSAW buildings were placed in storage after they were purchased with regular bike tires, which over time go flat. It was unclear to the OIG why no-flat tires (which were purchased on bikes acquired later in the program), could not have been purchased for the bikes with regular tires or the existing tires could not have been re-inflated.
NSA OIG made eight recommendations to assist the agency in addressing the issues uncovered by the OIG; the NSA agreed to all of the recommendations.
The OIG’s Audit of Cost-Reimbursement Contracts revealed several deficiencies that had the potential to impact the agency’s ability to determine whether cost-reimbursement contract costs are allowable, allocable, and reasonable through the performance of due diligence regarding invoice review. The OIG found ineffective and inefficient processes by the Contracting Officer Representatives and non-compliance with contract clauses and insufficient billing documentation. The OIG questioned approximately $227 million in labor charges and more than $226,000 in travel charges.
This report follows the OIG’s April 2019 release of an unclassified version of its audit of the agency’s use of award fee contracts. In that audit, the OIG questioned all $636 million in award fees earned over multiple years associated with the 54 contracts that were examined.
OIG Reports Highlight Transparency
“The recommendations made in both of today’s unclassified audit reports are important to help ensure that NSA is acting as a careful steward of taxpayer dollars,” NSA Inspector General Storch said. “I am pleased that we are able to publicly share these reports as part of the OIG’s continuing effort to increase the transparency of our oversight work at this critically important federal agency.”
The NSA OIG conducts independent oversight that promotes agency respect of Constitutional rights, adherence to laws, rules and regulations and the wise use of public resources. Through investigations and reviews, NSA OIG detects and deters waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct, and promotes the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of agency operations.
Like prior unclassified reporting, the reports released today have been posted on the OIG’s independent website (oig.nsa.gov/reports), and will appear on the aggregator site for federal OIGs maintained by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (www.oversight.gov).