Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan says that he isn’t surprised that the Pentagon failed its first audit. For the first time in history, the DoD’s Office of Inspector General conducted a long sought-after audit of the headquarters. But according to Reuters, the Pentagon failed the review, which looked at weapons systems, military personnel, and property.
In a press conference with reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday, Shanahan said that the failure wasn’t a shock.
“We never thought we were going to pass an audit, right? Everyone was betting against us that we wouldn’t even do the audit,” Shanahan said.
But even though it wasn’t surprising, Shanahan said that some of the results of the audit are “irritating” issues.
“Some of the compliance issues are irritating to me because the point of the audit is to drive better discipline in our compliance with our management systems and our procedures,” he added. “Some of those things frustrated me because we have a job to do and just have to follow our procedures.”
A 1990 federal law spells out that all United States government offices must be audited. Until December 2017, the Pentagon had not faced an audit of its own. It was the only agency in the government to avoid submitting to the process.
Lawmakers have long been calling for an audit of the agency. Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Bob Corker both took the department to task for failing to do an audit.
“How in the world is it, in 2018, with all the massive capabilities that the Pentagon has, this is the first time the Pentagon has been able to conduct an audit? What is going on with the culture at the Pentagon, Mr. Norquist?” Corker said at Senate Budget Committee hearing.
Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist replied that he believed an audit would benefit the department.
“As you make progress on the audit and get more reliable financial information, there are cool things you can do with data analytics,” Norquist said. “You use data analytics to analyze databases to find trends and patterns. If it’s reliable, then you can use that to drive a lot of changes.”
At the end of last year, 1,200 auditors examined spending within the department, to the relief of those calling for an audit to take place. The results, which were completed this week, found “inventory inaccuracy” and issues with cybersecurity compliance and discipline.
The full results of the audit are expected to be released later on Thursday.