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Freedom Fridays

February 9, 2018 – Audit the Pentagon

 

Freedom Fridays

 

Why do we need to Audit the Pentagon?

Providing for the common defense is one of the most important constitutional duties of Congress. Our servicemen and women fight for our freedoms every day, and their sacrifices must never go unnoticed. We trust the Pentagon’s mission to deter war and protect the security of our country; however, we must also trust them to be good stewards of taxpayer money.

This week, it was revealed that the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Logistics Agency could not account for more than $800 million in construction projects. This is simply unacceptable. Moreover, in 2015, the Pentagon conducted a study which shows a path for the DoD to save $125 billion over five years. This shows that there is room within the Department to make its operations more efficient and transparent.

Conducting thorough and periodic audits of the Pentagon can help save taxpayer money without hurting the readiness and resilience of our Armed Forces. About 15 percent of our annual federal budget is spent on our national defense. The Pentagon is expected to ask Congress for $700 billion for fiscal year 2019, and while such figure is justifiable, the people must rest assured knowing that defense spending is accounted for in a transparent and responsible fashion.

 

What I am doing about it

I introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2018 to restore financial oversight in the Pentagon. Specifically, this amendment required DoD to decrease discretionary spending by .5 percent if they failed to submit their annual financial statement or if the statement has not received an audit opinion by an independent external auditor as required by current law.

I am pleased to see that Secretary Mattis did not turn a blind eye on this issue. The Pentagon recently announced that the Department is expected to release an annual audit report this coming November. I will continue to work to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently for our national security interests.

 

What they are saying

"There are far too many stories of waste and unaccounted for funds at the Pentagon. Taxpayers deserve better. This amendment would bring necessary accountability by requiring the Department of Defense to get its finances in order. At a time when more money is being given to the Pentagon, the least Congress can do is ensure that taxpayers' dollars are being spent wisely and that every dollar is being spent wisely." – Jason Pye, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, FreedomWorks

“The trouble is, how the Pentagon tracks its spending – on its supply chains, procurement, personnel, training, and much more – is related directly to its effectiveness in protecting America. When resources are misallocated, brave service people don’t get what they need, where they need it, when it matters most.” – Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union

“Americans want responsible government. That’s why we need to provide the Department of Defense with the tools and motivations it needs to complete a federal audit and take stock of its resources. National security is too important to be left unaccounted for.” – Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform