Pentagon flunks sixth audit in a row: ‘No consequences for failure’

by WorldTribune Staff, November 27, 2023

Don’t try this at the office.

The Department of Defense can’t account for half of its stated assets, a team of auditors found. The result is that, for the sixth year in a row, the Pentagon has failed its audit.

The Pentagon / Wikimedia Commons

The DoD accounts for more than half of U.S. discretionary spending. Its assets include military personnel, supplies, bases, and weapons.

The 2023 audit saw 1,600 auditors looking into the DoD’s $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities. They conducted some 700 site visits.

Out of 29 individual sub-audits, only seven passed this year, DoD Comptroller Mike McCord told reporters.

All sub-audits are required to pass for the overall audit to be approved.

The Pentagon did its best to spin the result as a positive, stating in a press release that it constituted “incremental progress” toward “the goal of a clean audit.”

Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said the effort is “a continuing and ongoing process. While it wasn’t the results that we wanted, we certainly are learning each time an audit passes.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he “feels we need to be doing better at this and moving faster,” but a successful audit is still years away.

Earlier this year a group of senators introduced legislation to ensure the DoD passes a clean audit next year. The bill follows repeated concerns from Congress about fraud, waste and abuse in the Pentagon.

William Hartung, a senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, noted that the Pentagon has “been legally required to pass an audit for decades and has clearly not made it a priority. As long as the money keeps flowing and there are no consequences for failure, we can expect the Pentagon to fail audits year after year with no end in sight.”

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