In a long-anticipated move, the Pentagon announced Friday it will launch its first agency-wide audit to examine the Defense Department’s spending habits.
Described as “massive” in scope, the audit, set to begin later this month, will carefully scrutinize every component of the Defense Department, including personnel, property, weapons, and military installations.
With an estimated $2.4 trillion in assets, the examination of DOD’s financial records and inventories is expected to require 2,400 auditors.
Writing in Defense News, Defense Department comptroller and chief financial officer, David Norquist, explained both the purpose and range of the review:
“Accountability is what will drive us — getting the maximum value from every dollar entrusted to us. But auditing the Department of Defense is not a small matter. The consolidated DoD audit will be among the most complicated audits ever conducted, composed of 24 individual audits and an overarching DoD-consolidated audit. With over $2 trillion in assets and nearly 3 million employees, this is the biggest audit in history.”
Mr. Norquist also announced audits will be conducted annually after 2018, with reviews being published every 15th day of November.
Under The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, the Defense Department along with every government agency was required to perform yearly audits and publish financial statements. Thus far, the Pentagon has evaded its obligation.
In June, the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2017 demanding Pentagon accountability was submitted by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Receiving widespread bipartisan support, the bill was co-sponsored by dozens of fellow House members, but has yet to receive a floor vote.
Plagued by financial accounting issues, the DOD did not receive an opinion from the Government Accountability Office for fiscal year 2016, which said in January that “serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense . . . have prevented its financial statements from being auditable.”
[The Hill] [Defense News] [NPR] [Photo courtesy CREDO Action]