Dan Blair: Pentagon Falling Behind in 2014 Audit Readiness Goal

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A lead Defense Department auditor believes the Pentagon may not reach its goal of producing a clean budget statement by 2014, GovExec reports.

Dan Blair, the department’s deputy inspector general for auditing, made the remarks last Tuesday at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ conference on governmental accounting and auditing.

According to Charles Clark’s report, the department’s goal of being ready for an audit is three years ahead of the mandate set by Congress.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has made audit readiness a primary goal of his tenure and wants the department to synchronize its procedures on documenting spending.

A group of senators is pushing for legislation to create incentives for the Pentagon to align with financial management laws.

Blair said officials are unsure if they are disbursing the correct amount of money in the right time and changes in implementation of new requirements is slow and challenging to follow, Clark reports.

Delays in schedule and inconsistencies in controls and data are challenges in meeting the deadline, Blair added.

Asif Kahn, director of financial management and assurance at the Government Accountability Office, outlined a list of challenges DoD must accomplish before reaching its goal.

He told the audience the Pentagon must create a system of accountability and oversight and also broaden the jurisdiction of chief management officers, the report said.

Mark Easton, deputy chief financial officer at the Pentagon, told the audience the size of the budget — $645 billion — contributes to the problem of financial oversight, Clark reports.

He said 85 percent of Pentagon programs are preparing for a thorough audit while 14 percent are all set, the report said.

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