December 12, 2017


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the Department of Defense’s decision to begin auditing the Pentagon, an effort led by Senator Manchin since 2012. Senator Manchin has introduced the Audit the Pentagon Act in the 112th Congress, 113th Congress and the 114th Congress and included audit language in the National Defense Authorization Act that President Trump signed today.

“The United States of America has – and will continue to have – the greatest military in the world. However, at a time when our federal government’s finances are out of control, we need to make sure that we are cutting the fat and not the muscle from our Defense Department so that we will continue to maintain our great military strength,” Senator Manchin said. “We must ensure that we’re using our limited resources most efficiently to support the men and women in uniform. One of best ways to find the most accurate information about our military’s spending and priorities is to shed light on the Department of Defense budget without jeopardizing our national security secrets. I have always said it is unacceptable that the Department of Defense is the only major federal agency that has not completed a financial audit and I am glad that we are finally setting it right. I have beat this drum for five years and I applaud Secretary Mattis and Comptroller Norquist for getting this process started.”

Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States requires all agencies of the Federal Government, including the Department of Defense, to publish “a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money”. The Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 mandated that all federal departments produce unqualified annual financial statements by 1992. The Department of Defense is the only federal department that has not complied with this law. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 mandated that the Secretary of Defense perform a full audit of the fiscal year 2018 financial statements of the Department of Defense and submit the results to Congress by March 31, 2019.

Key Findings in the Department of Defense’s failure to complete a clean audit opinion:

  • The Department of Defense did not publish an auditable spending statement before March 1, 1997.
  • Every year since 1995, the Government Accountability Office has labeled the Department of Defense “High Risk” for waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement due to the agency’s inability to adequately manage its funds.
  • In September 2010, it was determined that the nearly $6 billion spent to improve financial information was not successful and the Government Accountability Office could not predict when the DoD would be able to provide these financial statements.