The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 stepped up oversight of spending by all governmental agencies, in an attempt to curb the billions of dollars that are wasted every year through fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. The idea was that every agency would have a Chief Financial Officer, who would lead efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness by conducting comprehensive audits. Until December 2018, however, the U.S. Department of Defense had not complied with the requirement. And the conclusion of 1,200 auditors examining spending on a wide range of weapons systems, military personnel, and property? “We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
Just one battle in an ongoing war:
- The U.S. defense budget for the 2018 fiscal year was about $700 billion USD. In a press conference, Shanahan did not provide any details regarding how much money was unaccounted for.
- Military officials have said that it may be years before the Pentagon can close accounting gaps and errors and actually pass an audit.
- In a follow-up email, Pentagon spokesman Joseph Buccino explained the finding: “To clarify, the audit is not a pass-fail process. We did not receive an adverse finding (the lowest possible category) in any area.”