Defense

August 13, 2018
 

Defense audit provides improved accounting for spending, inventories

Jim Garamone
DOD News

Pentagon Comptroller David L. Norquist, the Defense Department’s chief financial officer, briefs reporters on the President Donald J. Trump’s fiscal year 2019 defense budget at the Pentagon, Feb. 12, 2018.

The Defense Department audit that is underway will allow leaders in the White House, the Pentagon and Congress to find better ways to account for taxpayers’ dollars, DoD’s chief financial officer said Aug. 8.

In an interview with WGAN radio in Portland, Maine, Pentagon Comptroller David L. Norquist said the audit’s results should be available in the fall.

“We normally have audits of individual programs, but this one is the entire department, so it verifies account, location, condition of our inventory, all the equipment, test for security vulnerabilities and validating personnel records and payments,” he said.

Next year’s fiscal year defense budget, for example, is set at $717 billion. The audit looks at all property, all equipment and all personnel, and it ensures accountability and provides transparency for the American taxpayer, the chief financial officer said.

Annual audit
Thousands of DOD auditors worldwide are involved in the process, Norquist said, and the department will do this every year. He said the audit invariably will find faults that will need to be corrected. Having an audit allows leaders to make changes and then ensure those changes are doing what is intended, Norquist said.

“One of the things that often happens with audits is the public goes, ‘Well, what became of it?’” he said. “‘What did people do?’” Each year, he said, the public will see what the findings were, what was fixed and what remains to be done. “So it’ll be an annual process, and as I like to say to the workforce, it will go on as long as we both shall live,” Norquist said.

Audits are valuable in that they find challenges, he said. “Often, those are areas where people are doing things manually or the data is not compatible,” he added, “and when you streamline them, you get more efficiencies [and] you get more savings.”

Navy savings
Already, he said, the Navy saved $65 million by transmitting things in a more automated and complete format. “We expect to see more of that across the organization,” Norquist said.

Another result, he said, is the organization gets better data quality for decision making.

“When getting ready for the audit, the Army identified 39 Black Hawk helicopters that were not properly in its property system,” Norquist said. “Now, the person who had them knew they were there, but if the department was looking across its inventory, it would not have seen [them].”

The audit also is part of implementing the new National Defense Strategy, Norquist said, noting that the strategy shifts DOD’s focus to developing the capabilities needed to prevail in high-end conflicts against China and Russia.

“And so, you’ll see a series of investments that followed in that,” Norquist said, “and this received a great deal of bipartisan support.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
army-VR1

Virtual battlefield represents future of training

Army photograph by Bob Potter Soldiers prepare to operate training technologies during the STE User Assessment in Orlando, Fla., in March 2018. The assessment was part of an approach implemented by Maj. Gen. Maria R. Gervais to...
 
 

CCAF no longer required for promotion

Due to an update to the enlisted personnel handbook, an associate’s degree from the Community College of the Air Force is no longer required for promotions, however, master sergeants still have to keep education in mind for their enlisted performance reports. While the CCAF itself is no longer required, an associate’s degree or higher is...
 
 
army-survey

New email survey aims to gauge Army housing quality

Army photograph Residents of Family housing owned and leased by the Army in the United States and overseas, such as this Family housing at U. S. Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea, received a survey via email on Jan. 15 askin...