GAO: Pentagon failing to track improper contractor payments

In fiscal 2011, the Pentagon reported over $1.1 billion in improper payments, which refers to either an under- or overpayment of a contractor.

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Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), who authored the 2010 law along with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchumer warns McConnell against immigration ‘breach of trust’ Senate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight Overnight Health Care: Congress funds children's health program after four-month delay | PhRMA ups lobbying in Trump's first year | Collins 'optimistic' ObamaCare fixes will pass MORE (R-Maine), said in a statement that the report was a “troubling” reminder of the problems with the Pentagon’s accounting failures.

“The Department spends about a trillion dollars annually, but officials have no idea how much of that money it loses to waste and fraud. This is simply unacceptable,” said Carper, who had requested the report with his ranking member Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (R-Okla.) and Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBudowsky: A hard lesson for Dems Senators get classified briefing on America's nuclear arsenal Senate moderates see influence grow after shutdown fight MORE (D-Mo.).

Coburn said the report was more proof that the Pentagon must be audited, something that the department is currently not capable of. The Pentagon has vowed to get ready for an audit by 2017.

The GAO report faulted the Pentagon for failing to adapt key quality assurance procedures for tracking improper payments. It said the department did not develop sampling measures for estimating improper payments, maintain key documentation to support its estimates or conduct recovery audits or a required risk assessment.