The Pentagon Fails Its First Comprehensive Audit

According to Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan, no one expected it to pass anyway.


|||Yuri Gripas/REUTERS/Newscom
Yuri Gripas/REUTERS/Newscom

The Department of Defense completed its first comprehensive audit this week. Well, it almost completed it.

The year-long audit was reportedly the largest in history, with about 1,200 auditors assessing 21 Pentagon agencies' spending. The audit itself cost $413 million—about a thirtieth of the Pentagon's budget.

Only five of the 21 individual audits received a fully passing grade, while two received an OK grade. Two agencies aren't actually done yet—they're set to have their audits completed at the end of the month. The rest were given disclaimers, meaning there were inventory discrepancies and other errors. Such low passing numbers were considered a "fail." (For how the specific agencies fared, go here.) Officials believe that it could take years to solve the accounting discrepancies found. An additional $406 million have been spent so far on addressing issues found in the audit, and $153 million were spent on "financial system fixes."

"We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it," Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said of the results.

Indeed, stories of exceptionally wasteful Pentagon spending are a news staple. It recently came out, for example, that the Air Force had spent more than $300,000 on 391 specialty mugs, which kept coffee and tea hot and were easily broken. Officials later found that they could 3D-print replacement pieces for 50 cents each.