U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis gestures to the media at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
The Pentagon will be ready for an audit by the end of September, according to the top financial official at the Department of Defense.
The DoD has been working for seven years to prepare for a clean audit, and Pentagon comptroller David Norquist says that’s its time to begin, according to Federal News Radio.
Norquist’s office has hired several accounting firms as outside contractors to begin the effort, but most agencies need to be under audit for several years before they receive a clean audit report.
The DoD’s $600 annual budget makes it the largest federal agency, but an outdated and “broken accounting system” makes the outlays of cash difficult to account for, according to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Pentagon departments don’t use a standard accounting system, but rely “on a tangle of thousands of disparate, obsolete, largely incompatible accounting and business-management systems,” some dating back to the 1970s, according to a Reuters investigation in 2013.
The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 required every federal agency to complete an audit by 1993, and the DOD is the only agency that still hasn’t completed it. “This inability to account for expenditures does a disservice to the American taxpayer and threatens our national security,” Grassley and fellow Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst wrote in a May letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
“The 25-year push to audit the books is stuck at a roadblock,” Grassley said during a budget hearing June 11. “Billions of dollars have been spent trying to solve the root cause problem, but the fix is nowhere in sight. And until it is, auditing the books will remain an elusive goal.”
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