The inspector general’s office at DoD has said that the number of “aged” recommendations—those on which the department promised action at least five years ago but that remain unimplemented—has grown steeply in recent years, from 27 in 2017 to 170 today.
The report was the latest development in the issue of agencies not carrying out IG recommendations even though they agreed to do so, an issue that has drawn growing attention in Congress and in the IG community. The oldest, dating to 2006, involves policies in the DoD personnel security clearance program.
Said the report: “While there is no standard timeframe for implementing recommendations, we believe the maximum benefits are generally achieved when recommendations are implemented within 3 years. However, some recommendations, such as those relating to cybersecurity or health and safety, require immediate implementation since noncompliance can have far-reaching, devastating consequences.
“Additionally, some recommendations impact life and safety, requiring management to take critical corrective actions for the agreed-upon recommendations. Moreover, not taking action to correct deficiencies identified in the DoD OIG reports can adversely impact the efficiency and effectiveness of DoD programs and waste taxpayer dollars.”
It said that although there are different reasons for the aging of recommendations, the need to revise policies, procedures, and guidance is a factor in about a third of the 170, while other factors include the development and implementation of systems and ongoing litigation.
In total, it said, there are 1,602 open recommendations from past IG reports, of which the department agreed to take corrective action in all but 156—which are considered unresolved pending further discussions between management and the IG.