Politics
USDA announces new food serving recommendations (Susan Walsh/AP Photo) USDA announces new food serving recommendations (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)  

USDA spends $2 million on internship program for one full-time intern

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

The United States Department of Agriculture spent $2 million on an internship program that only hired one full-time intern, a recent audit of the USDA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer reveals.

A USDA Inspector General’s report detailing the mismanagement of the agency’s multi-million dollar attempt to beef up the USDA’s information technology security found that after an infusion of millions, “[b]ecause these projects were not effectively managed, the Department’s information systems are still at risk, even after expending $63.4 million of funding increases received in FY 2010 and 2011.”

Among the most striking findings in the IG’s report was the fact that OCIO had spent $2 million on an internship program that ended up hiring just one full-time intern.

“OCIO funded an intern program for a total of $2 million which, while funded as a security enhancement project, only resulted in one intern being hired full-time for ASOC [Agriculture Security Operations Center],” the report reads.

“This project is intended to develop and sustain a highly skilled IT security and computer technology workforce,” the report added. “Expenditures for FY 2010 and 2011 included over $686,000 for development and implementation of a networking website and approximately $192,500 in housing costs for two summers. While the intern program may be a beneficial step in the long-run, it did little to further the more pressing objective of improving USDA’s IT security.”

The audit, dated August 2, was first highlighted by The Heritage Foundation on Friday.

Follow Caroline on Twitter