Defense

Pentagon Can Account For ‘Very Little’ Of Its Yearly $600B Budget Thanks To Its ‘Broken Accounting System’

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Ethan Barton Editor in Chief
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Department of Defense officials can account for “very little” of the $600 billion the agency spends annually because of its “broken accounting system,” according to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The Pentagon has invested more than $10 billion to modernize its accounting systems in recent years, but the agency is still unable to produce a clean audit, Grassley said in a Thursday Senate floor address.

“What I am talking about, Mr. President, is the department’s broken accounting system,” Grassley said in the speech addressed to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. “This problem has been a festering sore for years.”

The Defense Department is the only agency that has consistently produced failing audit opinions since 1992, according to Grassley, who chairs the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and is a past chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.

“The 25-year push to audit the books is stuck at a roadblock,” Grassley continued. “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.”

Congress is unable to oversee defense spending without fiscal accountability, Grassley said. “And if Congress can’t do that, then adding money to the defense budget – and borrowing to do it – is foolish in my book.”

Grassley also quoted recent testimony from Comptroller General and Government Accountability Office Chief Gene Dodaro, who said the Pentagon can account for “very little” of the $600 billion it spends annually. (RELATED: ‘Adult Entertainment’ Paid For With Pentagon Credit Cards)

Grassley has been following the Defense Department’s failure to pass an audit for years. His first in-depth report – titled Oversight Review of Audit Reporting by the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General – was published in September 2010.

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