(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.