GAO: Navy, Marines have $22 billion in accounting errors

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The accounting system was not able to reconcile basic accounting and financial operations, the report found.

“The Department of Defense is trying to modernize its financial systems, as mandated by Congress, to finally become audit-ready by 2017," Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), one of the senators who requested the GAO report, said in a statement Wednesday.

"This is a critical goal, and considering the amount of time and money that's gone into this effort, it's one that should have been met years ago,” Carper said. “While troubling, it is not surprising that the Navy and the Marine Corps are far from being audit-ready.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in October that the Pentagon is preparing to be audit-ready by 2014. The Senate passed an amendment in the defense authorization bill from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) that would have required the 2014 Pentagon audit, but the amendment was stripped out of the final legislation.

The GAO report recommended that the Navy and Marines improve testing of their accounting systems, develop an operating procedure to handle discrepancies and address the issues that currently prevent a successful audit.

The Pentagon responded to the report by saying the Marines were able to account for all balances in their accounting system. Still, the Pentagon concurred with all of the GAO recommendations.