Easy media news opportunities…reporter can probably do the work without getting out of his or her chair…does it get any better?

The US government has an elaborate system of Inspectors General.  The military uses them and the cabinet and agencies use them.  From time to time they conduct audits in their area of responsibility, not the financial audit that comes to mind with that phrase but far more expansive examinations of whether or not a governmental agency is performing its mission well.  These audits are usually very independent with exceptions where an Inspector attempts to ingratiate him or herself with the organization and most of them, after review by the agency, are publicly available.  Those that reveal something of great public interest tend to be taken up by the media, at least for a few days.

Currently the IG report on Arlington Cemetary describing unmarked and mis-buried remains of soldiers has received media attention:

http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/documents/finalarlingtonreport061010.pdf?sid=ST2010061005754

It is, as many IG reports are, a fascinating and in places damning document.  It prompted immediate action by the Army including relief of the civilian in charge of the cemetery.   I urge you to read it, at least through the summary but, if possible, through the recommendations.

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2 thoughts on “Easy media news opportunities…reporter can probably do the work without getting out of his or her chair…does it get any better?

  1. First, , the Army’s response was not immediate – it was reported to them 2 years ago! Second, the Army has spent millions to various contractors to update the records system. But the same oversight that exists for defense contractors does not oversee operations contractors, like the ones that ripped off Arlington. Save some of your indignation for those guys who ripped off our national cemetery. How low can you get?

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    1. I hope nothing I said excuses any of those who are at fault in the Arlington Cemetery matter. And I know nothing about who or how contractors for operations are selected and supervised. But, there is off-the-shelf software for cemeteries and even if the Arlington cemetery situation was more complex than any of these handle, they certainly seem like places to start.

      Experience in other settings with custom designed software suggests to me that it most often becomes a matter of the specifications being changed throughout the whole development process, requiring the contractor to go back to work from the point at which the new requirement was foreclosed, because it didn’t then exist, and figuring out how to accommodate the new specifications.

      Of course some contractors may have deliberately “ripped-off” Arlington and I don’t carry water for them at all.

      The purpose of the post was more about media and informing the public but the point of informing the public is for it to know about “rip-offs” when they occur and press their leaders for accountability.

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