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Reuters reports that the Pentagon could not pass the muster of a traditional audit despite the fact that its proposed budget for 2007 is $440 billion. They apparently only recently determined a cost for each individual piece of equipment. A spokesman indicated that the Pentagon is likely several years away from being able to conduct an audit that could be certified. At a time when we have record deficits, a national debt that continues to spiral out of control under this administration, and calls for reduced spending, it seems unconscionable to allow the entity with one of the largest dollar allocations to run such an abominable accounting system. It's frightening to imagine the amount of money that will ultimately be determined to have been mishandled. Read the article below.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department's finances may not be able to meet normal accounting standards for several more years, possibly not until after President George W. Bush leaves office, a Pentagon official said on Friday.

Richard Sylvester, Defense Department deputy director of property and equipment policy, said in a step toward reaching that goal the Pentagon had for the first time established the cost of each piece of military equipment in its massive arsenal.

The change is part of an administration drive to instill accepted financial standards at a Defense Department long criticized for questionable accounting practices.

But the Pentagon, for which Bush has proposed a $440 billion budget in fiscal 2007, will have to overcome several more hurdles before it can produce financial statements that meet accepted accounting standards.

"I would say we're several years away from having a certifiable audit," Sylvester told reporters.

Asked if such a milestone could be expected after Bush leaves office in early 2009, Sylvester replied: "Most likely, most likely.

The Pentagon has already frustrated hopes that it could pass a clean audit by 2007. A clean audit is an independent financial review that finds no material problems.

Bush administration officials have long pledged to tackle the Pentagon's infamous finances, which some critics say have allowed hundreds of billions of dollars to go unaccounted.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld first promised Congress he would try to balance the books in early 2001.

Sylvester said his staff had established a gross book value of $600 billion for military equipment in 600 Pentagon programs, after a review that covered 1,101 programs in total.

Equipment cost figures will now appear in quarterly Defense Department financial statements and allow Pentagon officials to capitalize and depreciate military equipment over its useful life.

Up to now, the Pentagon has had no method for estimating the value of its military equipment.

Before achieving a clean audit, Sylvester said the Pentagon would need to meet several more challenges such as revising contract language, creating systems to match expenditures with assets and establishing a registry system to identify each piece of equipment.

"We don't have those capabilities now, although we're working on them," he said.

more observations at http://www.thoughttheater.com

Originally posted to Daniel DiRito on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 08:36 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Pentagon can't even meet.,,, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    desordre remplir

    Enron standards?

    "I am the pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity." G W Bush

    by irate on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 08:40:43 AM PDT

  •  Fools? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Daniel DiRito, desordre remplir

    OK
    440 Billion is a lot of money but ....
    The same government that DEMANDS that every large company adhere to these standards makes an exception for itself.
    If any company failed, year after year, to comply with audit requirements people would be frog-marched out of their offices in handcuffs.
    Similarly, the FBI has been unable to update their computer system(s) for YEARS! The same problems they had pre-9/11 are still with them. Things done on a daily basis in private industry are major hurdles for them.
    Are all these people fools?
    If not, and it seems odd that so many fools could be brought together in one place, then why the persistenet failures?
    Is it just a happy confluence of "Starve the Beast" with "CronyCapitalism"?
    IS government incapable of running large organizations well?
    Does having Congress involved it the mix make efficiency unachievable?
    Are they playing US for fools?

  •  Hard to say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    desordre remplir

    These are all good questions. I wonder if government, by its nature simply can't think like a real business since money seems to be the least of their worries...if they don't have enough money...no problem, they just borrow some more. They never seem to make the connection between the money that the government borrows and who will ultimately have to pay it back.

  •  Pretty convenient (0+ / 0-)

    that the books won't meet standards until after the Bush cabal checks out ... though if the republicans manage to steal another 4 years I'm sure there will be "problems" and the accounting won't be correct for another 5 year stretch.

    Don't you get it yet? It's not incompetence. It's been the plan all along to destroy America.

    by voltayre on Sat Apr 08, 2006 at 10:11:57 AM PDT

  •  Hire Tweety Bird! (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe Mr. "Sylvester" should hire Tweety Bird to fix the problem?

  •  Sickening (0+ / 0-)

    Lower taxes would improve the lives of millions of lower income Americans.  This is a sickening disgrace.  Why should there be different rules for the government that sets the laws for everyone else?

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