On Tuesday, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) urged the Commission on Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution Reform to help bring much-needed financial accountability to the Department of Defense (DOD). The letter, which comes after Grassley passed a new policy directing the commission to analyze and propose improvements to financial management systems, highlights the need for this oversight and explains expectations for the commission as they begin conducting their review.
“The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has consistently placed DOD Financial Management on its High-Risk List for 26 years. The most recent High Risk List report of 2021 notes that while the Department’ s spending makes up more than 50 percent of the federal government’s discretionary spending and its physical assets represent more than 70 percent of the federal government’s physical assets, it remains the only major agency that has never been able to accurately account for and report on its spending or physical assets,” the lawmakers wrote.
The senators raise concerns that the DOD’s financial management failings adversely affect the overall efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. To fix these shortcomings, the senators urge the commission to develop a team of outside experts and consultants – a “Financial Management Tiger Team” – to help conduct a thorough, deep-dive review of DOD’s policies, procedures and planned investments.
Further, the senators recommend that commission members work closely with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the DOD Office of Inspector General (DOD OIG), which have both conducted their own reviews and found a number of alarming deficiencies.
“It is imperative that the Department’s financial management systems comply with applicable requirements and guidance, address financial statement findings by auditors, and provide the reliable, useful, and timely information needed to support DOD’s financial management operational needs. Unless the underlying financial management systems are addressed, any efforts to reform the Planning, Programming, Budget, and Execution processes at the DOD would be a waste of time and money,” the lawmakers concluded.
Read the full letter by clicking HERE.