GAO Views on H.R. 7893

Gao ID: 113277 August 27, 1980

Legislation has been proposed to establish Offices of Inspector General in the Departments of Defense, Justice, Treasury, and the International Development Corporation Agency (IDCA). GAO strongly supported earlier legislation which centralized internal audit and investigative activities under Inspectors General in 15 major departments and agencies, because such legislation (1) insures that high-level agency attention is given to promoting economy and efficiency and combating fraud, waste, and abuse; (2) provides better assurance that the work of audit and investigative units throughout the Government are coordinated; and (3) insures that both Congress and agency heads receive information on problems involving economy, efficiency, fraud, and abuse. GAO expressed support for the provisions of the proposed legislation relating to the establishment of Inspectors General at the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and State. However, it regarded the present establishment of an Office of Inspector General within IDCA as premature, because IDCA was only established in October 1979 and is still experiencing start-up problems. GAO believed that Congress needs to consider some important issues associated with the IDCA role in development assistance before enacting legislation on this proposal. Regarding the Department of Defense, GAO opposed the use of the term Inspector General, because it has a special military meaning signifying a person primarily interested in military discipline, morale, and welfare problems. It would be less confusing to call the new official the Auditor General. GAO supported the concept of an Auditor General in the Department of Defense, but believed that the bill should specify that the Auditor General be a civilian. Also, the bill should give the Department of Defense Auditor General the authority to draw upon the services' audit and investigative resources when needed for special Defense-wide reviews.

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