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Asif Khan, director of financial management & assurance issues at GAO, discusses takeaways from the first Defense Department audit, and why it’s important to have someone at the top.

The confirmation of David Norquist as Deputy Secretary of Defense means that there will be another acting in the position of DoD comptroller. The Government Accountability Office looked at how vacancies in the position impacted financial management at the agency. Asif Khan, director of financial management & assurance issues at GAO, says that it’s important to have someone at the top to guide and discuss audit results.

“It’s shared authority and devolved power, that goes a long way so not one person carrying the torch, it’s spread amongst many people. What really is important is tone at the top. What we’ve seen in the prior several years, especially in the recent years, that has been very positive,” Kahn said. “It’s very important for the people at the top to speak positively about the audit process. Typically speaking, people have negative connotations of the audit, but the benefits that DoD has already reaped, both operational and financial, are very important and they need to be highlighted.”

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