Traumatic brain injury center for vets plagued by management problems

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The Pentagon’s traumatic brain injury and psychological health center for veterans has been hindered by unfocused leadership, slow hiring, and poor accounting, a new audit says.

The hiring process at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCOE) took an average of 119 days in 2009, and the slow pace resulted in heavy reliance on contractors. Officials told the Government Accountability Office that the slow hiring process is a major challenge to the center’s development.

The center is supposed to help veterans returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq suffering trauma. Since 2000, there have been more than 195,000 cases of traumatic brain injuries, with 23,998 last year.

The center relies on a management authority within the Pentagon which sets its funding. The management authority did not properly classify contract obligations for $102.7 million, which makes up 91 percent of the center’s contract obligations, the GAO found.

“Officials contend that the Defense Centers of Excellence’s unfocused mission has been exacerbated by unfocused leadership,” the GAO report said.

FAST FACT: Traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading injuries among those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq due to the likelihood and exposure to blasts.

Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities.

NATIONAL SECURITY

  • The National-Geospatial Intelligence Agency is expected to release millions of feet of old film containing imagery from intelligence satellites later this year. The NGA is looking for contractors to digitize more 4 million feet of film. (NGA)

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