After an internal audit, hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) were not documented to show where they were used.
The internal audit was done by Ernst & Young and it found that the agency is not able to account for more than $800 million in construction projects. As a result, the audit raised deep concerns about how the Defense Department handles its $700 billion annual budget.
“If you can’t follow the money, you aren’t going to be able to do an audit,” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said.
According to Politico, the DLA has 25,000 employees and processes about 100,000 orders a day.
As a response to Ernst & Young’s reported finding, Army Lieutenant General Darrell Williams wrote that the audit has “provided us with a valuable independent view of our current financial operations.”
“We are committed to resolving the material weaknesses and strengthening internal controls around DLA’s operations,” the general said.
The DLA trying to give an explanation for the missing money gave a statement saying that it is the “first of its size and complexity in the Department of Defense to undergo an audit so we did not anticipate achieving a ‘clean’ audit opinion in the initial cycles.”
“The key is to use auditor feedback to focus our remediation efforts and corrective action plans and maximize the value from the audits. That’s what we’re doing now,” the statement said.
The audit comes just before President Donald Trump and his administration are set to demand from Congress $716 billion for defense spending for fiscal 2019, which is a major hike that budget analysts say aligns with the administration’s stated goals of bulking up the military and preparing it to potentially fight near-peer rivals after years of focusing on terrorism.
President Trump vowed during his campaign that he was going to rebuild what he called a “depleted” military.