DEFENSE ETHICS PROGRAM-Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Safeguards for Procurement Integrity
United States Government Accountability Office Washington United States
To implement its ethics program, DOD has delegated responsibility for training and counseling employees on conflict-of-interest and procurement integrity rules to more than 2,000 ethics counselors in DODs military services and agencies. These efforts vary in who is required to attend training and counseling, the content of ethics information provided, and how often the training and counseling is provided. While some variation may be warranted, DOD lacks the knowledge needed to determine whether local efforts are meeting the objectives of its ethics programin large part because DOD does not systematically capture information on the quality and content of the training and counseling or employee activity as they relate to ethics rules and restrictions. Specifically, ethics counselors were unable to tell us if people subject to procurement integrity rules were trained. Instead, DOD evaluates its ethics program in terms of process indicatorssuch as the number of people filing financial disclosure forms, the number of ethics officials providing training and counseling services, and the amount of time ethics officials spend on such activitieswhich do not provide metrics to assess the effectiveness of local training and counseling efforts. DOD also lacks adequate information on the number and status of allegations of potential misconduct related to conflict-of-interest and procurement integrity rules. Ethics officials did not know of 53 reported allegations of potential misconduct referred to inspectors general offices. DOD has taken several actions since October 2004 aimed at enhancing its ethics program. However, without knowledge of training, counseling, and reported allegations of misconduct, DOD is not positioned to assess the effectiveness of its efforts.