DOD will cut up credit cards

The Defense Department is tightening control over who can use government purchase cards and what they can buy.

Deputy Defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz announced the Pentagon would begin using data-mining software to monitor purchase patterns in search of misuse or fraud.

Last week, Defense comptroller Dov Zakheim outlined the findings of a three-month study of the charge card program. Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the review following allegations of widespread abuse.

The review found that most Defense employees do not abuse their card privileges. But DOD leaders have required all agency heads this month to tell Zakheim what they are doing to combat misuse.

Another reform would increase penalties for fraud and misuse and cut the number of cards issued from 1.6 million to 1.2 million.

The study came on the heels of a General Accounting Office report that said DOD should limit the number of purchase cards it issues and conduct credit checks on employees who carry them.

Some examples of misuse included unauthorized purchases of computers, personal digital assistants and DVD players at two Navy facilities.

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