WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department failed for the sixth consecutive year to score a clean financial audit, a goal routinely achieved annually by businesses that have a fraction of its $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities.
Pentagon officials nonetheless claimed significant progress in tracking its assets and correcting hundreds of deficiencies in its accounts.
The failure “is not a surprise,” Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord told reporters at the Pentagon. “It certainly is not something that we say, ‘it doesn't matter.'”
About 1,600 auditors and 700 site visits were needed to review the Defense Department's business processes and activities. The Defense Department spent $187 million on the audit, a small slice of its $853 billion budget.
The Pentagon's inspector general's office has been overseeing the audit work, and the watchdog will issue its own findings.
“Auditing the Department's $3.8 trillion in assets and $4.0 trillion in liabilities is a massive undertaking,” McCord said in a news release. But he said “the improvements and changes we are making every day as a result of these audits positively affect” every military member and civilian employee.
Lawmakers have been pressing the Pentagon to produce a “clean” audit by 2027. But the Pentagon sought to put part of the blame on unreliable budgeting by lawmakers, saying that…