After several decades of nation-building and trillions of dollars missing or improperly recorded, the long-awaited audit of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has finally begun. On Wednesday, the Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist told lawmakers in Washington that the DoD’s first-ever department wide audit will cost about $367 million in 2018 and an additional $551 million to fix the problems.
Norquist, who testified before the House Armed Services Committee, said Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan are in full support of the audit. Back in May 2017, President Trump appointed Norquist to finally put the military’s financial house back in order after many years of delays.
What is surprising, if only in retrospect, is that according to the World Economic Forum, U.S. Department of Defense has been named the largest employer in the world with some 3.2 million members on its payroll and $2.4 trillion in assets but has never administered a full audit.
“This is the first time the department will undergo a full financial statement audit,”he said. “A financial statement audit is comprehensive and occurs annually and it covers more than financial management,” Norquist explained to Lawmakers.
The purpose of the audit will document military equipment and real property along with condition and location. “It tests the vulnerability of our security systems and it validates the accuracy of personnel records and actions,” Norquist said.
DoD News says that 1,200 auditors are currently working on the project to assess the books.
The department will have 1,200 financial statement auditors assessing the books and records to develop a true account of the state of the department, the comptroller said. 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.
“But we don’t have to wait to see the benefits of a clean opinion,” Norquist said. “The financial statement audit helps drive enterprise improvements to standardize our business practices and improve the quality of our data.”
DoD News made an interesting observation how the audit will provide “information and accountability to the American people.” Why now? How come all of a sudden the DoD wants to become transparent to the American people? Perhaps, it is due to Washington’s two-decades of failed nation-building throughout the rest of the world, although it is unlikely.
Norquist said, “the taxpayers deserve the same level of confidence as a shareholder that DoD’s financial statement presents a true and accurate picture of its financial condition and operations. Transparency, accountability and business process reform are some of the benefits of a financial statement audit.”
And in a preview of what is to come, Norquist told the House Armed Services Committee that an initial Army audit found 39 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter ($830,700,000) were not adequately 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. In other words these helicopters were simply “missing” on the books.
Alas, the mismanagement within the DoD doesn’t stop there: in a recent report, the U.S. military lost some 44,000 troops across the globe in a country location labeled as “Unknown.”
Going even deeper into the rabbit hole, Mark Skidmore, a Professor of Economics at MSU specializing in public finance, found the Department of Defense and Housing & Urban Development may have spent as much as $21 trillion on mysterious items between 1998 and 2015.
“This is incomplete, but we have found $21 trillion in adjustments over that period. The biggest chunk is for the Army. We were able to find 13 of the 17 years and we found about $11.5 trillion just for the Army,” Skidmore said.
Considering that today’s already known accounting blunders at the Department of Defense are no small matter, we wonder what the 1,200 auditors will find when they perform the first ever dive down the rabbit hole of decades of failed proxy wars, regime changes and dictator slush funds in history?
djokesauce: let’s see what happens. remember this lady who blew the whistle on procurement irregularities, and the gov went after *her*? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bunny_Greenhouse. she was a patriot and a stand-up person. let’s see if the audit starts looking in the right direction, for once.
psy-op: Supposedly planes are un-flyable, ships are in disrepair, combat brigades are not at strength… and Trump wants to add more ships and more planes… not specific ships or planes, just whatever planes and ships meet the numbers…
But what are they doing with $700 billion they get now?
Why is no one asking whether its time the military narrow its priorities and missions and allocate its funds… surely it can make due with the more money than the next 10 countries combined?
Why is no one calling to investigate the waste and likely fraud that is going on. We all remember the money that just vanished in Iraq but at least that was a war zone. What their excuse now?
Not even Bernie is questioning this, he is only questioning that they are not matching military funding increases with civilian discretionary spending. Rand Paul is shockingly quite on this too…
What happened to fiscal responsibility, spending within in our means, efficient government? Or does that not apply when republicans and their cronies are lining their pockets with with defense contractor money?
chiguy: To clarify what DoD said is that “an initial Army audit found that 39 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were not properly recorded in the property system.”
Which is not the same as the helicopters are missing.
Also, the $21 Trillion is speculation by a professor and covers both DoD and Housing &Urban Development over 18 years. [source from Michigan State U](http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2017/msu-scholars-find-21-trillion-in-unauthorized-government-spending-defense-department-to-conduct/)
findmeastray: I doubt even this is accurate. If we are being told there are 21 trillion in “mysterious items” and 830 million is “missing helicopters” it is probably 50 trillion in mysterious items and 10 billion in helicopters. Or maybe this whole this is cover for something huge. Bottom line, the government and DoD specifically, is so hopelessly corrupt, and lie as a matter of trade, that we will never know fully what is going on. But I can tell you one thing for sure, none of it is for our benefit.
sarcasm_again: Well at least in this instance it’s only the magnets that were chinese made. In general enemy foreign government’s aren’t allowed to supply products for the military especially in classified programs. This is because of the almost guaranteed chance of espionage happening especially if it’s from china since it’s well known that just about every single electronic device made by them comes pre-installed with malware/spyware as if it was just another part of it being manufactured.
The main reason it was required to get these magnets from china is because they are the main global producer of neodymium. Neodymium isn’t actually all that rare with it’s abundance being the second highest found out of all rare earth metals. However, thanks to our over zealous environmental protections and the vast greed of corporations holding ownership over lands, it’s become extremely expensive to produce large scale mining of it in the US. This is also coupled with the fact that China controls that entire market and is more than happy to dump the market to the point that no possible company could make money from it’s production/manufacturing. The same kind of market manipulation happened with domestic solar production having to compete with china flooding the market with their own solar cells.
If we could erase the false reasons for the expense i/e prevent companies from gouging the government, loosen restrictions to allow for excavation of materials, etc… we could actually have a much larger domestic neodymium production market.
TrumpIdiot: Chinese Defense budget 146 billion (and that is a recent increase, the US theoretically with decades of high spending has a lot of equipment already, they aren’t creating a carrier force from scratch).
Chinese Armed forces 2-2.5 million
US Military budget 600-700 billion excluding war spending of trillions
US military 1.5 million
We have more advanced tech and should be able to match if not significantly outclass the Chinese on our current budget but this would mean a through assessment of the military’s mission and cost effectiveness/ military effectiveness of our equipment.
Our military cannot do everything and do it well, there is not enough money in the world for this. The military should be able to function at the current 600 billion at least and that means audits like this looking for waste, maximizing the most important missions, rethinking old strategies.
For example, we don’t need to maintain or upgrade silo based missiles. They are vulnerable at best 1st strike weapons. Between air and sub arms we have all the first and second strike capability wee need.