Pentagon Fails Another Financial Audit, but Urges Patience as it Gets its Books in Order
The Department of Defense has failed yet another financial audit, the third since such audits began in 2018. But according to the Pentagon’s comptroller, Thomas Harker, there is hope the agency can eventually earn a pass – but not until at least 2027:
The Pentagon remains the only government agency that has yet to pass an audit. For years the department avoided starting the process, claiming its various systems made an audit effectively impossible to perform — much to the aggravation of Congress. But in 2017, the DoD began the process, which is broken down into 24 individual audits of various departmental offices.
The scope of the audit is enormous:
The effort covers roughly $2.7 trillion in department assets, including roughly 26.5 million acres of land. For the third straight year, auditors found no evidence of fraud, and have closed 16.3 percent of the issues identified in the previous year’s efforts.
The full report is due in January. But even without trustworthy balance sheets, Congress is likely to boost defense spending even higher:
As part of a new $1.4 trillion discretionary spending bill expected to be passed during the upcoming lame-duck session, the Pentagon is expected to get about a $10 billion boost in funding.
That includes spending on programs previously flagged as putting taxpayer dollars at risk:
Congress is also expected to sign off on the purchase of dozens of new F-35 fighter jets, despite the fact that last year’s Pentagon audit called the entire F-35 program a “material weakness” that was putting taxpayer dollars at risk.