Review Of Reliability Of The Air Force Personnel Data System

The United States Government Accountability Office – the audit, evaluation and investigative arm of the United States Congress has an extraordinary long and fine tradition of authoring seminal reports into the internal control environments of those within its domain.

In this week’s report of the week we examine a GAO report into the reliability of the air force personnel data system.

The report’s summary notes:

The GAO reviewed the Air Force’s personnel data system, focusing on the reliability of data entered and being retained in the system.

GAO noted that:

(1) during the review of the operation of the Air Force personnel data system it found that the system was not furnishing the Air Force with data of the reliability desired;

(2) base-level records were inaccurate and certain types of source documents were missing; and

(3) the reasons contributing to the inaccuracies were:

(a) lack of adequate review procedures to ensure the accuracy of personnel information;

(b) absence of standards for evaluating the reliability of system data;

(c) ineffective guidance and instruction by higher levels of command; and

(d) inadequate staffing and training of personnel.

The observations are consistent with most system implementation or system in flight reviews.

What makes this report worthy, however, of Report of the Week isn’t only the quality of the observations made within.

It is when the report was written.

The report was released on July 25, 1968.

It did strike McLeod Governance as we read through the report that we – both as those in Management and those in independent assurance – need to consider whether we have advanced any in the last 44 years.

Why is it that a report of exactly the same nature could be written today?

Download the report here

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