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News | Aug. 16, 2017

DCMA IG launches in pursuit of excellence

By Thomas Perry DCMA Public Affairs

FORT LEE, Va., Aug. 16, 2017 — In a move to promote accountability, integrity and efficiency, Navy Vice Adm. David Lewis appointed Bob Conforto as Defense Contract Management Agency’s first inspector general July 27.

“The IG team plays a critical role in our warfighter support mission,” said Lewis, the agency’s director. “I rely on them to provide independent, relevant and timely oversight of our directives, policies and procedures. Their ability to provide unfettered feedback and promote professional excellence is a true asset to organizational development.”

In his appointment directive, Lewis wrote that Conforto and his team “will perform audit, investigations, inspection, assistance, teaching and training functions, as directed, and make inquiries into any matter within the scope of the DCMA mission.”

In addition to Conforto’s appointment, Alex Sloss was named assistant IG for auditing and Amy Zorgdrager was named assistant IG for investigations.

The transition from Office of Independent Assessment to Office of Internal Audit and Inspector General, or OIA IG, has been underway for some time. Former director, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Wendy Masiello initiated the process. Lewis then fully embraced and executed the order when he became director in May.

Prior to the IG appointment, team members had already changed the directorate’s concept of operations and implemented the DCMA Hotline and Hotline Policy Memorandum to align with common Department of Defense practices.

“The DCMA IG will ensure there are independent and objective audits, inspections, assessments and investigations that are focused on agency strategic, operational and tactical processes that directly impact mission success and product delivery within the new capabilities framework and strategic plan,” said Conforto, whose official title is now OIA IG executive director.

In accordance with DoD policy, all agency IG personnel are required to attend and pass the DoD’s Joint IG course. Conforto completed the course in March and was sworn in by Glenn Fine, the acting DoD Inspector General.

In an Integrity-in-Brief series for the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity, Fine recently summarized his key IG principles.

“IGs occupy some of the most important but least understood positions in the federal government,” he wrote. “There are IGs in most federal agencies — 73 IGs in total — and IGs are different in many ways. However, based on my experience in the IG community, I believe several basic principles apply to the work of IGs on the federal as well as the state and local levels.”

Fine explained that while many IGs approach mission accomplishment differently due to size, background and mission variances, he believes there are general principles all IGs should follow:
—Remain independent
—Be tough but fair
—Tell the good with the bad
—Provide potential solutions
—Strive for timeliness
—Don’t cut corners
—Don’t expect to be popular

Conforto said his team is using these principles to guide their decision making.

“We are committed to fully implementing these seven principals,” he said. “They will serve as foundational pillars as we pursue our goal to enhance readiness, provide warfighter support and strengthen the agency’s mission capabilities. We will execute this goal through four primary functions: inspections, assistance, investigations, and teach and train. The sphere of activity and jurisdiction is everything within the commander’s legal responsibility.”

One aspect of that responsibility is to ensure contract management offices undergo a mission review approximately every three to four years. The review ensures policy compliance and mission objectives are supported by the most efficient and effective methodologies and processes.

According to Wolf Patrick, OIA IG quality assurance lead examiner, the mission review team is developing an agency assessment plan and methodology in accordance with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency — Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation, January 2012. She said DCMA investigators will migrate to the Joint IG investigative standards, but there will be no change to the internal audit teams as they have been operating to government auditing standards.

While there is much change associated with this transition, Patrick assured team members in the field it will not affect mission objectives.

“There will be no impact to the field on how they accomplish their mission,” Patrick said. “However, the current mission review team will integrate a Teach and Train role during mission reviews, provide root cause on initial findings, assist regional headquarters with data analysis using the agency corrective action process tool, monitor CAP completion, and identify further areas needing additional training and/or competency development.

“The Teach and Train function will be the most proactive function and will be embedded in all inspections, investigations, assessments and assistance. The goal will be to use every opportunity to emphasize integrity, ethics, efficiency, discipline and readiness.”