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The Pentagon Fails Its First-Ever Audit


November 17, 2018
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Idrees Ali and Mike Stone / Reuters

After generations of being a black hole down which money goes, never to return, a team of 1,200 auditors tried to give the Pentagon its first ever comprehensive audit, just to see where all that money went. Unsurprisingly, it went poorly, and was declared a failure. How bad the failure was is something of a mystery at this point, with officials refusing to disclose the exact results, or even ballpark how much money is unaccounted for.

https://news.antiwar.com/2018/11/15/pentagon-fails-its-first-ever-audit/

Pentagon Fails Its First-Ever Audit
Officials offer few details,
but say it will take years to resolve

Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com

(November 15, 2018) -- After generations of being a black hole down which money goes, never to return, a team of 1,200 auditors tried to give the Pentagon its first ever comprehensive audit, just to see where all that money went. Unsurprisingly, it went poorly, and was declared a failure.

How bad the failure was is something of a mystery at this point, with officials refusing to disclose the exact results, or even ballpark how much money is unaccounted for. The only clue to the sheer scope of the matter is that they believe it will take "years" to sort out.

And if there was one thing more dependable than the Pentagon failing an audit and missing an undisclosed, but vast, amount of money, it's officials downplaying the matter. Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan told reporters that the Pentagon "never expected to pass it" in the first place.

Indeed, Shanahan insisted that even though the Pentagon failed the audit, the fact that they even bothered to do an audit at all "is substantial," and shows effort toward compliance. That said, he said the issue of audits is "irritating to me."



Pentagon Fails Its First-ever Audit, Official Says
Idrees Ali and Mike Stone / Reuters

WASHINGTON (November 15, 2018) -- The Pentagon has failed what is being called its first-ever comprehensive audit, a senior official said on Thursday, finding US Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve.

Results of the inspection -- conducted by some 1,200 auditors and examining financial accounting on a wide range of spending including on weapons systems, military personnel and property -- were expected to be completed later in the day.

"We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it," Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding that the findings showed the need for greater discipline in financial matters within the Pentagon.

"It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial," Shanahan added.

The US defense budget for the 2018 fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30 was about $700 billion. The Pentagon is a huge agency with multiple branches of the military, costly weapons systems, large personnel needs, numerous military bases of various sizes at home and abroad and troops deployed in far-flung locales.

Shanahan said areas the Pentagon must improve upon based on the audit results include compliance with cybersecurity policies and improving inventory accuracy. In a briefing with reporters, he did not provide a figure detailing how much money was unaccounted for in the audit.

It was unclear what consequences there would be after the audit, but Shanahan said the focus would be on fixing the issues.

"We need to develop our plans to address the findings and actually put corrective actions in place," Shanahan said.

"Some of the compliance issues are irritating to me. ... The point of the audit is to drive better discipline in our compliance with our management systems and procedures," Shanahan added.

A 1990 federal law mandated that US government agencies be audited, but the Pentagon had not faced a comprehensive audit until this one was launched in December.

Defense officials and outside experts have said it may be years before the Pentagon is able to fix its accounting gaps and errors and pass an audit.

"To clarify, the audit is not a 'pass-fail' process. We did not receive an 'adverse' finding -- the lowest possible category -- in any area," US Army Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email.

"We did receive findings of 'disclaimer' in multiple areas. Clearly more work lies ahead of us," Buccino added.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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