WASHINGTON – Sen.
Chuck Grassley joined Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mike
Lee (R-Utah) to introduce the Audit the
Pentagon Act of 2021, which would require the Defense Department to finally
pass a full independent audit beginning in fiscal year 2022. Each year that
military agencies fail to obtain a clean audit opinion, one percent of their
budget will be returned to the Treasury.
decades, the Defense Department has been losing the battle against wasteful
spending. We've seen example after example of excessive and inefficient
spending by the Pentagon, and every dollar squandered is a dollar not being
used to support our men and women in uniform. After 30 years to get ready, this
bill pushes the Defense Department to finally achieve a clean annual audit-- a
requirement that every other federal agency is held to,” Grassley said.
Pentagon and the military industrial complex have been plagued by a massive
amount of waste, fraud and financial mismanagement for decades. That is
absolutely unacceptable,” said Sen. Sanders. “If we are serious about
spending taxpayer dollars wisely and effectively, we have got to end the
absurdity of the Pentagon being the only agency in the federal government that
has not passed an independent audit. The time is long overdue for Congress to
hold the Defense Department to the same level of accountability as the rest of
the government. That is the very least we can do.”
can’t afford to keep writing blank check after blank check for the Pentagon to
cash. If the Department of Defense cannot pass a clean audit, as required by
law, there ought to be tough, financial consequences,” Wyden said.
providing for the common defense is one of the most important jobs of the
federal government, it ought to be done in a way that uses our limited
resources responsibly. “By requiring the DOD to achieve a clean audit
opinion starting in FY22, this bill will provide needed transparency and
accountability in its use of taxpayer dollars,” Lee said.
Defense Department remains the only federal agency in the United States that has
been unable to pass an independent audit, despite the fact that the Pentagon
consumes more than half of the nation’s discretionary budget and controls
assets in excess of $3.1 trillion. Federal agencies have also been mandated
by Congress to comply with annual audits by the Government Accountability
Office since 1990, a requirement continually unfulfilled largely due to the
DOD’s inability to pass an audit.
2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan concluded that
$31-60 billion spent in Iraq and Afghanistan had been lost to fraud and waste. In
2015, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reported
that the Pentagon could not account for $45 billion in funding for
reconstruction projects. In 2018, an audit conducted by Ernst & Young
for the Defense Logistics Agency found that the Pentagon could not properly
account for some $800 million in construction projects.
September 10, 2001, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said, “Our
financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track
$2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor
in this building because it's stored on dozens of technological systems that
are inaccessible or incompatible.”
almost two decades later and the DOD still cannot account for trillions of
dollars in transactions and has not come close to passing a clean audit. This
would change with the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2021.
the full bill text here
the fact sheet here