AF system could send classified parts astray

Faulty internal controls in an Air Force system that monitors the foreign sale of military spare parts and services could sidetrack classified items to unauthorized governments.

That was the General Accounting Office's finding in a report (PDF) released yesterday. GAO said the Air Force had not tested the Security Assistance Management Information System since 1998 to ensure that it is working correctly, nor had it validated modifications to the system.

From 1990 through 2001, the military services delivered more than $138 billion in services and parts to foreign governments through sales programs. A GAO examination covering Oct. 1, 1997, through July 31, 2002, found that 525 out of 72,057 requisitions violated Defense Department policy.

'Foreign country requisitions for classified and controlled spare parts were erroneously approved' by SAMIS based on incorrect federal supply classes, the report said.

Part of the problem was that the system approves items for shipment based on their federal supply class and not the entire national stock number, which includes the supply class number plus a part number unique to each item.

GAO recommended that Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld instruct Air Force secretary James Roche to:

  • Modify SAMIS to validate requisitions based on each item's complete national stock number

  • Establish procedures for recovering classified or controlled items that were erroneously shipped

  • Establish policies for validating modifications to SAMIS

  • Periodically test the system to ensure that the logic for restricting requisitions is working correctly.

  • DOD replied that it concurred with most of the findings.


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