Washington, DC [4/21/15] â€“ Late yesterday, a broad bipartisan coalition of over 70 Members of Congress, led by Reps. Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Tim Walz (D-MN), sent a letter to Secretary Carter regarding his commitment to making the Department of Defense (DoD) fully auditable and his strategy to achieve this goal. The Departmentâ€™s recent advances in better financial management and audit came with Secretary Panettaâ€™s decision to make audit a priority. Secretary Carterâ€™s leadership and dedication to maintaining the audit efforts is imperative to finishing and institutionalizing this effort, and this letter asks Secretary Carter to make the same commitment to audit as have former Secretaries Chuck Hagel and Leon Panetta.
â€œConducting an audit of the Pentagon would help our nation tremendously, and work to find savings by rooting out waste and inefficiencies at the Department of Defense, rather than by reducing troop pay,â€ Rep. Walz, the highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress, said. â€œIâ€™ve been pushing the Department of Defense to continue moving forward with audit readiness for some time now, but words from Congress alone will not ensure its completion: the Secretaryâ€™s leadership in this effort is paramount. I look forward to working with him as we move forward in this most important endeavor.â€
â€œWith the last monthâ€™s news of the Department of Defense Inspector General retracting the U.S. Marine Corps fiscal year 2012 audit, this letter comes at an important time. The IGâ€™s decision highlights the Department-wide nature of this endeavor: if the Defense Accounting and Finance Service (DFAS) cannot maintain appropriate suspense accounts then that affects the entire Department. While much attention has focused on the service branches â€“ and rightfully so â€“ it cannot be forgotten that the Department agencies, like DFAS, are also a critical piece of the effort. The Secretaryâ€™s leadership is needed across all fronts,â€ said Congressman Conaway. â€œThe Department is entering a new phase â€“ the final push. With less than two full fiscal years left until the September 30, 2017, audit readiness deadline, Secretary Carterâ€™s service comes at a crucial time.â€