Pentagon starting first-ever financial audit

Pentagon starting first-ever financial audit
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Department of Defense (DOD) officials announced Friday that the agency would undergo the first full-scale audit in its history.

Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist said at a press conference that the audit would begin this month.

"It is important that the Congress and the American people have confidence in DOD's management of every taxpayer dollar," Norquist said.

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The massive undertaking will examine every aspect of the Defense Department, from personnel and supplies to bases and weapons. At least 2,400 auditors will be tasked with spreading out across the department to examine the Pentagon's estimated $2.4 trillion in assets.

"With consistent feedback from auditors, we can focus on improving the processes of our day-to-day work," Norquist said. "Annual audits also ensure visibility over the quantity and quality of the equipment and supplies our troops use."

He added that beginning in 2018, audits of the Defense Department will be conducted annually as a measure to cut down on waste. Reports will be issued at the end of each year, on Nov. 15.

Norquist also spoke Friday about the danger posed by the looming possibility of a government shutdown. The House passed a two-week spending bill this week that will keep the government running as Congress attempts to pass a long-term spending bill before the end of the month.

"I cannot emphasize too much how destructive a shutdown is," Norquist said Friday. "We've talked before about the importance of maintenance on weapons systems and others, but if it's not an excepted activity, there'll be work stoppage on many of those maintenance functions."

"In the administration's budget, we requested additional money for munitions, and so we would like to increase the production of some of those munitions," he added.

Congressional leaders now have until Dec. 22 to pass another continuing resolution or larger-scale spending bill to avoid a shutdown.