Bradford Geyer: I GROSSLY UNDERSTATED INCREASED RESOURCES REQUIRED BY DEPARTMENT OF STATE OIG

In my February 14th Post about an armored car services audit conducted by the Department of State OIG, I threw out the following parenthetical comment:

(did I mention that DOS-OIG could be doubled or even tripled in size and it would still not have enough resources?…)

In reflecting further on DOS-OIG, I realized that my estimate about doubling or tripling the size of State OIG was in error.  In reality, what I really should have said, given the massive scope of DOS-OIG’s mandate, is that DOS-OIG could easily absorb and integrate a 10 fold increase in resources, at least in its agent resources.

Massive Mandate

State OIG has a somewhat unique mandate that requires it to inspect each of the approximately 260 embassies, diplomatic posts, and international broadcasting installations throughout the world to determine whether policy goals are being achieved and whether the interests of the United States are being represented and advanced effectively. This is a massive task in and of itself.  Additionally, OIG performs specialized security inspections and audits in support of the Department’s mission to provide effective protection to our personnel, facilities, and sensitive information. OIG also audits Department and BBG operations and activities to ensure that they are as effective, efficient, and economical as possible. Finally, the OIG uses the resources it has available to investigate instances of fraud, waste, and mismanagement that may constitute either criminal wrongdoing or violation of Department and BBG regulations.

To see its organization chart, please go here. Although I have not checked recently, when I last looked DOS OIG only had approximately 30 investigative agents arrayed in Baghdad, Kabul, Islamabad, Charleston and Frankfurt.  This array seems to have been an adaptation to stretched resources and it seems reasonable to think that, conservatively, DOS-OIG could make effective use of a minimum of 300 additional investigative agents.

Unique Position to Embolden International Enforcement

For a variety of reasons, DOS-OIG never reached its full potential.  The low point was probably the Krongard controversy in 2007 and it suffered until its current IG took the helm in 2013 and turned the agency around.  It was a surreal experience in working international procurement fraud cases and seeing the extensive capabilities we saw in the DOD agencies and FBI, even in the USAID OIG, but almost no participation by DOS-OIG.  As a result, there was poor integration with the Embassy structure and some of these enforcement efforts existed in alternative universes which was inefficient and  ineffective.

A significant infusion of resources to DOS-OIG is probably the most  important thing a new Administration could do to reinvigorate international fraud and corruption enforcement.  Most of what is accomplished now is with weak integration with the Embassy structure.  DOS-OIG is well positioned to integrate with Embassy Rule of Law assets, it can draw in and coordinate resources from USAID-OIG and Peace Corps OIG and I believe it would lead to better coordination and cooperation with World Bank.  State OIG can work globally with DOD investigative agencies and FBI and can provide an additional avenue to understanding Embassy procurements and compare those to contractors that are providers to DOD, USAID, World Bank and international organizations.  Most importantly, all international enforcement would see significant benefits–FCPA, human trafficking, IP protection, AML, Money Laundering, Antitrust, etc.–all would benefit from significant synergies that would be hard to overestimate.

 

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