Statement on the Swearing in of Joseph Sherick as Inspector General of the Department of Defense

May 20, 1983

When I promised the American people to ``follow every lead, root out every incompetent, and prosecute any crook who's cheating the American People'', I did not grant the Department of Defense an exemption.

Today Joseph Sherick, who has been heading the Office of Review and Oversight, was sworn in as the first statutory Inspector General for the Department of Defense. He is a 33-year government veteran of financial and budget management, and this experience, combined with the proven integrity and conviction of purpose, earns him my complete support.

In April 1981 the Secretary of Defense established, administratively, the first department-wide Office of Review and Oversight. When creation of a statutorily required, Presidentially appointed Inspector General position was introduced in Congress, I gave my complete support.

Under Mr. Sherick's stewardship over the past 2 years, about $12.7 billion has been saved or put to better use as a result of work done by DOD's 17,500 auditors, inspectors, and investigators. Over the same period, DOD auditors issued over 160,000 reports. Questioned costs of over $10.5 billion were sustained as a result of audits of DOD contracts, and $13.8 million was recovered by restitution or other means. Over 20,000 investigations were closed, and 18,700 new ones were opened. Establishment of a Defense Hotline on fraud, waste, and abuse resulted in over 6,000 calls and letters over the past 2 years.

As an example of the valuable contribution Mr. Sherick's office is making, a 1982 audit found that $361.1 million could be saved through consolidation of two defense satellite programs. Management agreed that the entire amount is achievable savings.

To further illustrate the trend toward more aggressive pursuit of fraud, waste, and abuse, Mr. Sherick, in 1982, established the Defense Criminal Investigative Service as a separate investigative unit concentrating on white-collar crime. It currently has 355 open investigations, of which 152 are contract fraud cases. Before that time, only limited and uncoordinated efforts were made to detect whi| -- -collar crime.

Mr. Sherick has a proven record of achievement in both detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse, and I am pleased to have him join my team of Inspectors General, our first line of defense in attacking fraud, waste, and abuse.