Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Friday, March 24, 2006

DoD employees want the failed CEO in the White House fired

DoD employees know well there is a White House and SecDef leadership failure: DFAS claims DoD IG missed error

Defense Finance and Accounting Service [DFAS] employees well known there are problem with this Administration. Your voices have been heard.

DFAS has come under increased scrutiny over problems with duty performance, and now they know the problem is linked to the White House.

DFAS has been reviewed. DFAS has failed to pay soldiers working in combat situations. Of concern are those who are called to duty after 9-11 such as the national Guard and reserves.

Also, DFAS has a reputation for bringing adverse claims against veterans. This has been discussed in the open media.

  • GAO report: [PDF; HTML version ]

  • 28 March 2005 Federal Times Article referencing a GAO study.
  • 20 July 2004 Testimony by Major George W. Riggins [ Ref ]

    * * *

    The following issues command Congressional and Public concern:
    - Where are the complaints by the current DFAS employees to the DoD IG about this problem
    - How effectively has the DoD IG been in reviewing these matters
    - What is the reason that American citizens called to arms are not timely paid for their service
    - What is the plan for DFAS and the Veterans Administration to timely ensure that veterans are appropriately supported during their post-combat life
    - What is the DoD management plan to address the DFAS management problems
    - To what extent the Information technology problems observed in the SAIC contract with DoJ are systemic problems in OMB, DoD, DFAS, and the VA accounting systems.

    * * *

    We also remain concerned that the basis for outsourcing is at odds with the actual cost basis. Namely DFAS has argued that the outsourcing award would be cheaper than current DFAS approaches. We remain unconvinced. Rather, it would be useful if DoD provided a cost basis to justify confidence this estimate was bonafided, and a copy of the Coast Analysis Improvement Group [CAIG] analysis done on the DFAS contract award. It is our view that the contract is at risk of continued cost overruns; and that the time to reconsider re-incorporating this workload back into DFAS is at hand. Indeed, the cost of deconstructing the outsourcing program, and transferring this role back to DFAS may be costly; but the overall cost is a reluctance of American citizens to have confidence that the American Government can do something simple like pay soldiers; thereby raising doubts that something more complicated -- like effectively leading combat operations -- can occur.

    We remain unclear why the Outsourcing problem continues to have a contentious issue inside DoD, more than five years on. It is our view that the OMB Circular A-76, Update, 2001 needs to be better studied. Whether the are bonafide reasons for the $30M error remain to be further explored. What is troubling is the alleged inadequate performance standards for the DFAS outsourcing is not a problem unique to DFAS, but is consistent with observed contract defects in Central Commands contracts for media support. It is one thing to argue that "outsourcing is good" -- quite another to fail to adequately outsource that contractor.

    DoD cannot credibly claim that the outsourcing program is "good" when the basis for managing that program has loose contract language, shows evidence of poor contracting body of knowledge, and personnel are not sufficiently supported to ensure contract language is robust to both achieve DoD objectives and contain costs. This is an issue of management, leadership, and training. DoD needs to have the contracting areas more carefully monitored; and provide a timely plan to resolve these problem. Moreover, the Flag Officers in charge of these contact efforts need to make a fair showing that they are aware of the issues, have a plan in place, and that they are effectively addressing the issues. If the real story is that the cost estimates were low, and the basis for contract award unreasonable, this needs to be understood.

    It remains to be understood what method was used/should have been used to validate the cost of the agency's costs. It is problematic when DoD IG assesses costs, but more suitable agencies inside DoD are not brought into the nexus before contact award. DoD and Congress need to better ensure that the basis for budget estimates, cost proposals, and contact awards are prospectively prudent, not retroactively incompetent.

    * * *

    It remains to be understood:
    - Did the DoD IG miss the issue
    - What caused the financial error
    - Is there an outsourcing problem
    - What plan does the contactor have to comply with
    - Are there additional cost and pricing issues needed to more effectively mange the existing contract
    - What is the basis for the agency offer
    - Did the contractor substantially underbid what a reasonable DoD manager should know is not a serious offer
    - Which specific finance related requirements did the contract bid exclude
    - Why was the contractor on the approved list
    - What steps, if any, have been taken to transfer this contractor to a list warranting better oversight, monitoring, or exclusion
    - How do the problems with the DFAS contractor compare with the DoJ SAIC contract issues in terms of contract baselines, work performance, contractor qualifications, and issues with the information technology software baselines
    - The extent to which OMB and the Inspector General has reviewed the recurring problems in the US Government SETA contracts across all departments in terms of their experience, adequacy of support, and ability to effectively baseline a cost estimate, then provide timely inputs to the government to assess cost, schedule, and performance risks
    - Outsourcing competitions: What is the basis to evaluate the forecasted costs and submitted bids; are there steps in place to compel contractors to resubmit a new bid when they have substantially underbid what is a reasonable effort; and whether the source selection includes sufficient software technology risk factors inherent with not only managing a software program but in ensuring the deployment of that information system is robustly supported during the life cycle.

    * * *

    We remain skeptical the basis for validating the proposed bids is robust, or that DoD is sufficiently managing the contract efforts related to information technology. It is likely the recurring software development issues within DoJ are similar to the problems we find in DFAS.

    We judge there is a poor link between outsourced contract offers and the most likely costs to complete this effort. This is a well known problem within DoD, and the employees within DoD have every right to be disgusted with the poor leadership to effectively manage this recurring, systemic, and widespread management accounting sand software development problem. This is not an issue to explain away; rather, there need to be low cost solutions in place that solve the problem.

    There is no excuse for soldiers not to be paid. If DoD has to fly armed guards with cash to the battlefield to ensure combat troops are timely paid, then that is the answer. There is no excuse for this kind of non-sense. There are people at home who need to be paid; and they do not need the non-sense from the Joint Staff who are part of the problem.

    This leadership has waged an illegal war, did not plan, and has ineffectively ensured combat troops are sufficiently supported both on the field, and when they re-enter private life. Clearly, America is not serious about asserting any values: It simply wants to talk about war, but is not serious about effectively ensuring that that war is either legal or sufficiently supported.

    This is not a media or public relations problem. It is a leadership failure. The troops aren't getting paid. They do not have enough equipment.

    What's worse is the enemy knows this well. This is not a secret. It is well know within DoD. The issue is whether the Congress is going to say, "Enough is enough" and remove this failed leadership with a lawful impeachment.

    The White House and DoD are reckless. They cannot lead. And they have no solutions. The people in the DFAS know this well. They have every right to be disgusted. It is no wonder there is a great incentive to outsource work: It will hide the problem deeper. This is not a solution. It is a failure.

    Fix this mess. Fire this failed CEO in the White House and Secretary of Defense office.