The Department of Defense had a budget of $590 billion last year and will have one of nearly $700 billion next year. It has an estimated $2.4 trillion in assets. And yet the department has never been audited. That finally changes this month when the Pentagon undergoes its first-ever financial audit, NPR reports. The federal government started requiring financial reports from agencies two decades ago, but the Department of Defense put it off. In 2010, Congress set a 2017 deadline for a Pentagon audit. With that deadline here, 2,400 auditors will begin to go over everything from personnel to weapons to bases, according to a Pentagon press release.
"It demonstrates our commitment to fiscal responsibility and maximizing the value of every taxpayer dollar that is entrusted to us," Department of Defense spokesperson Dana White says. It also might be far past due. It was reported last year that Pentagon officials were hiding reports of "$125 billion in administrative waste" in order to preserve their budget. And the Government Accountability Office accused the Department of Defense of "serious financial management problems" last January. Department of Defense comptroller David Norquist, who calls the audit a "great opportunity," says they will now happen yearly. "Annual audits ... ensure visibility over the quantity and quality of the equipment and supplies our troops use," the Hill
quotes Norquist as saying.
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