ngaheadquartersUPDATED: NGA RESPONDS

WASHINGTON: It’s not a lot of money in the Pentagon’s scheme of things, but the Defense Department’s Inspector General has found that the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) wasted millions because it did not close a rented building and made improvements to a building when it was supposed to leave the facility.

NGA flat-out rejected the IG’s conclusion that money was “wasted.” with NGA spokesman Christine Phillips saying “that statement is completely inaccurate.

“Bottom line: NGA acted in good faith to comply with the provisions of the BRAC. The majority of the multi-year effort to relocate 8,500 personnel from 14 separate buildings was completed by the deadline,” Phillips said in an email late Friday night.

The IG’s report, Phillips went on, “does not include a number of mitigating and clarifying facts, and as a result, draws an overall conclusion that is not correct. Further, it does not acknowledge that some actions NGA took in the BRAC process saved millions of dollars — for example, one of the temporary moves the report considers non-compliant saved taxpayers $27 million, and the function was ultimately moved by the BRAC deadline.”

All this revolves around NGA’s move from its Cold War suburban Maryland home to Fort Belvoir ordered by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) commission in 2005. The agency was supposed to leave five sites in the Washington area and put all its folks at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. They did not.

Nailing down exactly how much money the Inspector General thinks NGA “wasted” from the report’s pages is difficult, but in the accompanying memo, the IG says:

“The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency could have minimized or avoided $11.4 million in total costs if it had incorporated a site scheduled for closure into the original plans for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Campus East as required by Base Realignment and Closure legislation.”

Here’s the breakdown of the “wasted” money. The IG report says “NGA made $8.9 million in design and construction changes to” a site in Reston, Va. it was supposed to vacate “and wasted $1.7 million in DoD funds restoring the “Integrated Test Facility” site to its original condition.” The location was used for testing and was largely occupied by contractors.

On top of wasting that money, NGA was judged by the IG to be not responsive to the report’s recommendation that NGA Director Letitia Long negotiate with the contractors at the offending site. Long said NGA does not have the authority to close the site. We emailed several sources at NGA for comment and did not get any responses on a mid-August Friday afternoon. We heard from Christine Phillips Friday at 10:49 p.m.

Comments

  • M&S

    First off, I can see how the NGA, despite their nominal ‘normal’ intel function compared to the rest of the Spy World (Hiya NSA: Terrorist, Dirty Bomb, Red Mercury, Capitol Attack!), still get an /enormous/ amount of foreign interest in their doings, if only to provide free GPS coordinate maps and hints at operational intent by what the DOD checks out from The Library.

    I am reminded of the debacle with the Moscow embassy that was literally so infested with false and live imbedded structural bugs (compression of the building charges the batteries and sound is carried seismically through the concrete and bricks they are laid in) that we literally couldn’t sort ducks from decoys, even with portable GPR, and had to tear it down and start all over.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the anti-electronic additions as well as contractor vetting and inspections that go into preventing that sort of nonsense doesn’t require a great deal of demil to bring it back to line with whatever amounts to no-counterintel-left-behind civil code here too.

    Secondly, if that’s how far the NGA official in charge of dispersing renovation funds can make 11.4 million dollars go, please, whoever you are, _run for President!_

    Someone is going to make a /killing/ when that facility comes up for redevelopment on the commercial market. I bet the land alone is worth at least fifty million.

    To provide some alternate perspective on how our friends in Congress ninnypick (or cherrypick, if you prefer) pointless issues while ignoring the Bigger Problem-

    >
    In 2011 Congress appropriated $54.6 billion for the government’s 16 intelligence agencies, which was an increase over the previous two years, according to Andrea Stone of the Huffington Post.

    But that number doesn’t seem to even begin to quantify how much is spent on secrecy as it doesn’t include the Pentagon’s $51 billion “black budget.”
    >

    Hel-lo, Real Money
    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-keeps-raising-its-budget-for-keeping-secrets-2012-7

    >
    The leadership of the House intelligence committee is under growing pressure to explain whether it withheld surveillance information from members of Congress before a key vote to renew the Patriot Act.

    A Republican congressman and government ethics watchdogs are demanding that the powerful panel’s chairman, Mike Rogers of Michigan, responds to charges that the panel’s leadership failed to share a document prepared by the justice department and intelligence community.

    The document was explicitly created to inform non-committee members about bulk collection of Americans’ phone records ahead of the vote in 2011. Michigan Republican Justin Amash alleged that the committee kept it from non-committee members – the majority of the House.
    >

    Institutionalizing Paranoia: Never Sleep With Your Spies
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/14/nsa-intelligence-committee-under-pressure-document
    The Patriot Act is going to end up locking down the entire country with the power of held intel over everyone. That was most likely always it’s intention.
    If we had an ethnically homogenous society, we would not permit such intrusion upon our neighbors because there would be an affinity identification with them. However; because we insist on measuring everyone by the content of their character (or at least their wallet) when we allow immigration from The Bad Places, we get a police state in which everyone is monitored because, Golly Wally, we really _don’t_ trust Habib and Muktar down the street.
    As they say: “In God We Trust, All Others, We Are Watching You.”

  • brownie

    Eleven million? Non issue. How about Obama’s 100 million dollar African safari and 8 million dollar ongoing vacation break on Martha’s Vineyard?

    • Jack Everett

      It’s never anything to you welfare queens.

  • Homobama

    It figures put people on furlough while they spend billions. Millions on vacations and trips millions on lavish gifts to other world leaders. Millions on high price American call girls for the rich Arab kings. Billions wasted on handouts. What do we get out of it? Debt and more dept frozen wages and furloughs. Thanks Obama Thanks congress.