Bill Greenwalt, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, discusses how the results from the Pentagon audit could be received, and why it’s taken so long for one to be performed.
The results from the Department of Defense’s first audit will be out by the end of this week, but it’s unclear what the reaction will be from the military, the public and Congress. Bill Greenwalt, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, says that the audit’s perception will vary based on who’s looking. “Those who essentially have an inclination that the Department of Defense spends too much and is wasteful are going to see some really bad things out of the audit,” Greenwalt said. “For those who have looked at this and seen the progress made in the last 30 years and the department getting its hands over the financial information, they will see progress but more needs to be done.” Greenwalt says that the difficulties in starting the audit arose from the different financial systems that the Pentagon uses to track spending. “One system to track appropriation dollars, one system to manage and then look at their performance measures and this particular financial system which tracks assets and liabilities and tries to determine whether the department can keep track of what it has,” Greenwalt told Government Matters. “It is a really difficult issue and frankly, the department has made progress in each of these financial systems, but at the end of the day, after this audit they’re not going to be able to tally up their assets and liabilities like a private sector company.”