Pentagon fails audit for sixth year in a row

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon failed an independent audit of its accounting systems for the sixth consecutive year, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

“Things are showing progress, but it’s not enough,” Mike McCord, the Defense Department’s chief financial officer, told reporters. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin thinks “we need to be doing better at this and moving faster.”

The Pentagon is striving for a “clean” audit but that is still years away, McCord said.

The audit consists of 29 sub-audits of the department’s services. All must pass for the overall audit to receive approval.

To conduct the audit, 1,600 auditors conducted 700 site visits and assessed $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities, the Pentagon said.

Seven sub-audits passed this year, the same number as last year. No fraud was found, McCord said.

Required by law, the annual audit assesses the record-keeping processes for the Pentagon’s weapons systems, military personnel and property around the world.

The annual exercise has helped the vast bureaucracy locate and tally arms, saving money and making it easier to find and ship some critical technology to Ukraine.

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)