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Pentagon's Assets To Be Fully Audited For First Time


The Pentagon's comptroller told Congress that the first-ever full-scale audit of the Defense Department has begun.

A comprehensive audit of the Defense Department's assets is important for business reform, for Congress and for the taxpayer, David L. Norquist said at a meeting of the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

Defense is the largest department in the US executive branch and has assets around the world.

The extensive process will cost about $367 million in 2018 and an additional $551 million to fix problems identified by the auditors, according to him.

While the department has auditors looking at various contracts or processes, "this is the first time the department will undergo a full financial statement audit," he said.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan are fully behind this effort, Norquist told the committee.

This audit will verify the count, location and condition of military equipment and real property.

There will be 1,200 financial statement auditors assessing the books and records to develop a true account of the state of the department. It will take time to pass all the process and system changes necessary to pass the audit and get a so-called "clean opinion," he said. He noted that it took the Department of Homeland Security -- a much smaller and newer agency -- 10 years to get a clean audit.

An audit will improve accountability, the comptroller said, noting that, for example, an initial Army audit found that 39 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were not properly recorded in the property system. "The Air Force identified 478 structures and buildings at 12 installations that were not in its real property system," he added.

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