By: CANDACE HATHAWAY | January 18, 2023
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A Tuesday report by the Government Accountability Office revealed that the Department of Defense failed its fifth audit in a row after it could not account for at least $220 billion in government-furnished property, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
The DOD has been mandated by federal law to complete audits since 1994; however, the mandate was ignored for decades due to the agency’s massive size, according to Military.com. Since launching its first independent audit in 2017, the Pentagon has never passed. The Pentagon failed its fifth audit in November after the agency could not prove expenditures for 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets. To perform this year’s overall audit of the DOD, which was expected to cost $218 million, the agency aggregated 27 separate audits conducted by approximately 1,600 auditors. According to Military.com, the auditors performed 220 in-person site visits and 750 virtual site visits.
The GAO’s study reported that auditors first alerted the DOD in 2001 that the agency failed to keep track of its government-furnished property.
“DOD’s lack of accountability over government property in the possession of contractors has been reported by auditors for decades,” the GAO report stated. “This longstanding issue affects the accounting and reporting of GFP and is one of the reasons DOD is unable to produce auditable financial statements.”
In 2014, the Pentagon reported that the estimated value of its GFP was at least $220 billion. However, according to the GAO’s study, that figure is likely “significantly understated.”
“For example, in fiscal year 2016, we reported that the Army indicated the actual number of these GFP assets is unknown and that actual quantities may be greatly different than the Army’s documented property records reflect,” the GAO report noted.
The GAO claimed that the DOD is the “only major federal agency that has been unable to receive an audit opinion.” Pentagon comptroller Mike McCord stated that he is “disappointed” the agency only made slight progress toward a clean audit this year.
“I would not say that we flunked. The process is important for us to do, and it is making us get better. It is not making us get better as fast as we want,” McCord said.
The DOD did not immediately respond to a request for comment, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.