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DOD on Path to Getting to a 'Clean' Audit, Official Says

April 28, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Senior Defense Department financial leaders updated the House Armed Services Committee today on the department's Financial Improvement and Audit Remediation plan, the fiscal year 2020 audit and other DOD financial management related issues. 

Douglas A. Glenn, DOD chief financial officer, said he's keenly aware that the department must be "good stewards of taxpayer dollars and [is] working to increase transparency in how we manage the resources entrusted to us."

A missile is fired during an exercise.
Tank Fire
Soldiers assigned to 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division fire a TOW Anti-Tank Missile during mounted live fire exercises at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, April 23, 2021.
Photo By: Army Staff Sgt. Alan Brutus
VIRIN: 210423-A-AK380-354

This year marks the third department-wide audit.

The department continues to make steady progress toward getting to a clean audit, he said, meaning zero discrepancies.

Glenn told lawmakers that he cannot give a firm date when the department will get to a clean audit, but he said that a reasonable guess would be around 2028.

In last year's audit, there were around 3,400 notices of findings and recommendations. As of this month, the department has successfully closed on 23% of those, meaning remedial actions have been taken to address those discrepancies, he said.

A missile is fired during a simulation.
Howitzer Fire
Marine Corps Cpl. Manuel Bautista, a field artillery cannoneer with Battery A, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, fires an M777 towed 155 mm howitzer during a live-fire defense simulation at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Callif., March 30, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Jamin M. Powell
VIRIN: 210330-M-LO635-1009
People operate in a darkened control room.
Rainier War
Air Force Capt. Ryan Pattman, the 4th Airlift Squadron tactics officer and aircraft commander, prepares for an airlift mission in support of Exercise Rainier War at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., April 27, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Master Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
VIRIN: 210427-F-OT300-0035C

"At the risk of sounding dramatic, the audit is driving improved national security. We already know DOD systems are primary targets for cyberattacks, from both foreign and domestic [sources]," he said.

As a result of the audit, DOD now annually tests its cybersecurity processes and procedures, controlling who can access its systems, what level of access they can have, what procedures they can perform and who can access decoding configuration capabilities, he said.

Overall, the audit provides a high return on investment to taxpayers and dramatically increases transparency and accountability as data is made more accurate, reliable and timely, he said.

Helicopter hovers over an aircraft carrier.
Seahawk Signal
Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Keifer Galbraith, an enlisted landing signalman assigned to the Military Treatment Facility on the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, marshals an MH-60S Seahawk assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 21 of Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., to depart from the ship’s flight deck Apr. 26, 2021 in waters off San Diego.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jake Greenberg
VIRIN: 210426-N-DA693-1075C

To improve its audit performance, the department is working with other federal agencies and oversight bodies, such as the Treasury Department, the Government Accountability Office, the Office of Management and Budget, as well as the larger financial community such as the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board and the American Society of Military Comptrollers, he said.

Others testifying were: Wesley C. Miller, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller; Alaleh Jenkins, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of the Navy for financial management and comptroller; and Stephen R. Herrera, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for financial management and comptroller.