On November 15, an independent audit disclosed that the Pentagon did not achieve a satisfactory rating for its accounting system for the sixth consecutive year. During a media briefing, Mike McCord, the chief financial officer of the Defense Department, remarked that although there is some improvement, it falls short of the required standard.
He further mentioned that despite the Pentagon’s endeavors to enhance the robustness of its financial accounting system, it might be several years before the agency successfully undergoes a satisfactory audit.
As per an official statement from the Pentagon, seven out of the Defense Department’s 29 sub-agencies achieved a favorable outcome, obtaining a clean or unmodified audit opinion in 2023. The Pentagon specified that one additional sub-agency received a qualified audit opinion, while the remaining ones did not meet the required standards.
The Department of Defense (DOD) continues to be the sole Cabinet-level department in the United States that has never successfully completed a financial report. Notwithstanding this failure, the Pentagon asserted that there has been advancement in various aspects, and the latest DOD audit did not reveal any new significant weaknesses in the system.
In a letter accompanying the audit report, Lloyd Austin, the United States Secretary of Defense, emphasized the obligation of the Pentagon to provide taxpayers with a thorough and unblemished financial assessment. Although acknowledging the need for improvement, he conveyed that achieving a satisfactory overall rating for the agency will require a considerable amount of time.
Austin emphasized his dedication to investing substantial efforts in addressing the absence of “easy solutions,” aiming to ensure that all 29 sub-agencies fulfill the required criteria. This commitment is aimed at facilitating the Pentagon in achieving approval.
He also pledged to concentrate on addressing the issues hindering the agency’s progress and affirmed his commitment to expediting the Pentagon’s efforts to remedy the audit challenges.
The agency initiated its self-auditing process in 2018, becoming the final department in the United States to do so after the House of Representatives mandated this practice for all government agencies back in 1990.