The Pentagon has been publicly on board with the government’s 2014 audit readiness deadline, but two senators are aiming to put increased legislative pressure on the Defense Department to meet that goal.
Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced a bill this week that would institute both incentives and penalties to ensure DOD hits its mark.
“You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” Coburn said. “Every year, the Pentagon fails to produce a viable financial audit they not only violate the Constitution, but put our nation’s security at risk because of a failure to effectively prioritize spending.”
DOD is the only federal agency to never complete a full financial audit, which Manchin called “simply unacceptable.” Since 1995, the Government Accountability Office has declared it a “high risk” for fraud, waste and abuse.
The bill would ban DOD from purchasing any off-the-shelf IT system that takes longer than three years to install. Contracts would be rewritten to include a termination clause if an IT system is not delivered on schedule.
“We must ensure that we’re using our limited resources most efficiently to support the men and women in uniform,” Manchin said. “One of best ways to get the most accurate information about our spending and our military’s priorities is to shed light on the Department of Defense budget, without jeopardizing our national security secrets.”
If the Pentagon doesn’t get a “clean audit” — an audit without any major objections — by 2018, the bill would freeze any new DOD funding for major engineering and manufacturing developments on weapons systems. The ban would be lifted once the Pentagon does achieve a clean audit.