Senate Budget Members Make Bipartisan Request for GAO Study of DOD Financial IT Systems

WASHINGTON D.C. – Building on previous Senate Budget Committee oversight work on the DOD audit, Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY), Ranking Member Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) today requested the Government Accountability Office conduct an independent review of the Department of Defense’s plans to acquire modern financial information technology systems capable of generating reliable information and supporting credible financial statements. This request continues the committee’s sustained oversight of DOD’s ongoing financial audit and business operations reform efforts, including a March 2018 hearing with DOD Comptroller David Norquist and Chief Management Office John Gibson.

In their letter to GAO requesting a review of the Pentagon, the senators wrote, “Why has DOD, which routinely fields history’s most technologically advanced weapons, been unable to develop or acquire modern financial IT systems?  Since Congress enacted the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, which calls for the modernization of federal financial management systems, most federal agencies have developed or acquired financial IT systems that generate auditable financial statements. The Pentagon, however, has failed to comply with the intent of the CFO Act and the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996. Today, DOD remains mired in a morass of antiquated and incompatible financial IT systems.”

The senators noted that while DOD currently is undergoing a full financial statement audit for the first time in its history, it might take another ten years or more for DOD to earn a clean audit opinion. The senators are concerned that DOD has invested billions of dollars to acquire modern financial IT systems, but that effort has not yielded needed results and has not produced better systems or fixed underlying problems.  DOD’s own 2017 Annual Financial Report cites financial IT systems as the “most pervasive” challenge to achieving progress in its audits. 

“We remain deeply concerned that DOD’s vast array of accounting systems is unable to produce reliable information,” the senators wrote.

View the full letter to GAO here.


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