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Press Release Published: Mar 6, 2023

Comer & Sessions Open Probe into Department of Defense After Failing GAO Audit for Fifth Time

Investigating DOD’s failure to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse after its failure to account for 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets

WASHINGTON — House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Subcommittee on Government Operations and the Federal Workforce Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) are probing the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for its failure to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse after the department failed its fifth consecutive audit in November. In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Republican lawmakers request a staff-level briefing to acquire additional information on the DOD’s failed audit, financial management practices generally, and what it is doing to implement outstanding recommendations for improvement.

“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating the Department of Defense’s (DOD) failure to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. In November 2022, DOD failed its fifth consecutive audit, unable to account for sixty-one percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) also recently reported that DOD continues to fail to accurately account for hundreds of billions of dollars of government furnished property in the hands of contractors,” wrote both Republican lawmakers. “DOD’s inability to adequately track assets risks our military readiness and represents a flagrant disregard for taxpayer funds, even as it receives nearly a trillion dollars annually.”

DOD’s financial management and contractor management have consistently been included in GAO’s High-Risk List. In January 2023, GAO reported that DOD failed to accurately account for much government furnished property provided to contractors including weapons, equipment, technology, and other defense articles. DOD last estimated in 2014 that contractors were in possession of $220 billion in government furnished property but GAO says that estimate is “significantly understated.” GAO has also recommended several changes to DOD weapons systems acquisition, business systems modernization, and overall financial tracking.

“DOD’s lax financial management and inability to adequately track weapons, equipment and other defense articles have raised serious concerns about DOD’s stewardship of taxpayer dollars, especially as DOD’s budget approaches thirteen figures. Failure to address these issues has limited DOD’s ability to produce auditable financial statements which would enable adequate oversight of DOD’s financial management practices,” continued both Republican lawmakers.

Read the letter to Secretary Austin here.