DOD needs written policy to fund software projects

The Defense Department's inspector general has ruled that DOD needs a written policy to avoid confusion over which software projects the High Performance Computing Modernization Office selects for funding.

David Steensma, deputy assistant inspector general for auditing, said an audit did not find alleged conflicts of interest in how projects were evaluated and selected for funding by the modernization office.

But auditors found that the lack of a written policy on evaluation procedures contributed to 'inconsistent interpretations by the different military department members of the selection panel,' he said.

'Written policy is needed that provides clear selection criteria,' Steensma wrote in the May 12 report, 'Allegations of Impropriety in the Selection Process at the Office of the Director, Defense Research and Engineering.'

Setting parameters

The audit was conducted after several allegations of conflict of interest were made to the Defense Hotline. The audit concerned software development projects valued at up to $1.5 million each over a three-year period.

Steensma said the written policy should:
  • Mandate that technical evaluators are government employees

  • Require service members to rank only their own proposals

  • Require personnel whose organizations have a vested interest in the software selection to recuse themselves from providing even informal ratings.

The High Performance Computing Modernization Program has an annual budget of about $250 million. Its mission is to deliver high-performance computing capabilities to the Defense directorates for science and technology, and for test and evaluation.

The audit said the director for Defense Research and Engineering agreed with the report findings that allegations of conflict of interest were not substantiated. But Steensma asked the director to provide comments about a written policy by July 11.

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