Federal agencies Safety measurement systems Military

Report: DOD data systems hinder ability to monitor soldiers’ health risks

Military men

Department of Defense

Washington – U.S. service members deployed to the Middle East may be facing occupational health risks due to a lack of health monitoring and flaws in the Department of Defense’s multiple data storage systems, according to a Government Accountability Office report released June 22.

Instead of a single repository to store occupational and environmental health surveillance (OEHS) data, two systems are currently used. The report states that this has led to fragmented and duplicative OEHS data, which hinders research and determinations of whether military personnel’s health conditions are related to their service.

GAO found a lack of quality assurance for the data, which may affect reliability. Additionally, no proactive monitoring is conducted to ensure base commanders are mitigating potential health risks for service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

GAO recommended the following to DOD:

  • Clarify which system is used to store specific data.
  • Establish clear policies and procedures for quality assurance reviews of OEHS data.
  • Revise department policy to require “adequate” documentation and consistent monitoring of deployment risk mitigation activities.

DOD concurred with GAO’s recommendations, and said it would revise its policies.