WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators David Perdue, R-Ga., Angus King I-Maine, and 24 bipartisan members of the U.S. Senate Armed Services and Budget committees sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan requesting his commitment to timely completion of a full audit of the Department of Defense in FY 2019.
“We commend Mr. (David) Norquist and the Department of Defense for finishing its first-ever complete audit required by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. This was a critical first step to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Pentagon; however, more progress must be made to reach a clean opinion,” the senators wrote. “It is important to note that the benefits of the audit go beyond good stewardship of the taxpayer dollar. Not only will it improve business operations, but also it can enhance national security by ensuring accuracy in inventory and by identifying vulnerabilities in our cybersecurity.
“Ultimately, because only five of the 24 individual audits conducted received a passing grade, it is imperative that subsequent, annual audits continue as planned to properly measure progress.”
Senators Perdue and King were joined by Senators Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Mike Crapo, R-Ida., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Tim Kaine, D-Va., John Kennedy, R-La., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Bernie Sanders, I-Ver., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Pat Toomey, R-Penn., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
In the FY 2017 defense bill, Perdue required the Department of Defense’s systems, processes and controls to be updated to match audit-readiness terminology used in the private sector and other federal agencies. His amendment also required the Secretary of Defense to annually certify DoD’s financial statements as being reliable. This provision was a major step toward holding DoD accountable.
“An unqualified opinion of the Department of Defense audit is essential to getting our fiscal house in order, ensuring taxpayer funds are spend effectively and strengthening military readiness,” the letter said. “Already, according to the Congressional Research Service, $972 million of taxpayer funds have been spent on the audit, remediation and financial system fixes for the FY 2018 audit. As such, we look forward to your prompt response with your commitment to put forth proper attention and resources to this year’s audit and your assurance of its timely completion.”