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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pentagon puts 'faith' in achieving clean audit by 2017

It's the law: The Defense Department must know how it spends every cent of its budget by 2017. But the agency said only 14 percent of its budget is now auditable.

Deputy chief financial officer Mark Easton jokingly said he's overseeing a "faith-based initiative."

But with budget cuts on one hand and the continuing costs of war on the other, Easton said he has a lot of faith in preparing the nation's biggest employer for a complete financial audit by 2017.

The Pentagon has been trying to prepare its books for a complete financial audit for more than 20 years. A few departments, including the Army Corps of Engineers, are on track.

"But the picture is different when we look at the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Air Force," said Asif Khan, the Government Accountability Office's director of financial management and assurance, who joined Easton on the panel.

Khan said one of the biggest problems is DoD hasn't been able to operate what he calls the "building blocks of sound financial management" — the technology known as enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs) that would help them collect, analyze and prepare data.

-Emily Kopp, FederalNewsRadio.com

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