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Pentagon Unhappy With Missile Defense Agency

by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Mar 27, 2006
A major row has erupted between the Department of Defense's Inspector General's Office and the Missile Defense Agency. The MDA has stymied staff investigators from the DoD's Office of Inspector General as they tried to conduct audits of MDA projects, policies and procedures in the past two years, the DOD IG said according to a report in Federal Computer Week Monday.

According to the IG, auditors working last year on the "Audit of Systems Engineering Planning for the BMDS," the Ballistic Missile Defense System, received only 20 percent -- 49 of 245 -- of the requested documents within five business days.

The IG also said that in 2004, auditors working on the "Audit of the Capabilities Development Process and Management of Target Acquisitions at MDA," received only 2 percent -- 2 of 94 -- of the requested documents within five business days, FCW reported.

Delays in receiving documents resulted in the suspension of another audit, "Information Security Operational Controls at the Missile Defense Agency," for 24 days, the IG said.

That audit, which examined security problems with the Ground-based Midcourse Defense Communications Network, resulted in a recent report, which was removed from the IG's Web site sometime during this past weekend. Federal Computer Week published a Web story on the report March 16.

Victoria Samson, a research analyst at the Center for Defense Information, a watchdog group based in Washington, told FCW she had heard that MDA delays the release of documents to other government agencies, including congressional committees. But she added that the DOD IG report was the first evidence she had firsthand of MDA's tactics. She added that the strong language in the DOD IG report is a sign that MDA "must have really made someone mad" on DOD's IG staff.

The DOD IG report states that even though the IG staff is supposed to have "expeditious and unrestricted access to, and, when required, copies of all records, reports, investigations, audits, documents, papers, recommendations or other material," according to long-standing DOD instructions, MDA has a document release policy that conflicts with DOD policy.

According to the DOD IG, the MDA policy states that the agency may have as many as 10 business days to provide auditors with copies of requested documents, and that auditors must coordinate document requests through MDA and its general counsel.

The DOD IG said that coordination process led to unreasonable delays in receiving documents, which violates document-access requirements. The DOD IG added that MDA incorrectly classified it as an external audit agency, FCW said.

Source: United Press International

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More than 70 percent of citizens throughout the state of New York support a missile defense system with the ability to protect the United States from a nuclear, chemical or biological attack. The results came from a new poll commissioned by the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA).

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