A damning outside review finds that the Defense Logistics Agency has lost track of where it spent the money.
Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.
.. The department has never undergone a full audit despite a congressional mandate — and to some lawmakers, the messy state of the Defense Logistics Agency’s books indicates one may never even be possible.
.. The $40 billion-a-year logistics agency is a test case in how unachievable that task may be.
.. The DLA serves as the Walmart of the military, with 25,000 employees who process roughly 100,000 orders a day on behalf of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and a host of other federal agencies — for everything from poultry to pharmaceuticals, precious metals and aircraft parts.
.. In one part of the audit, completed in mid-December, Ernst & Young found that misstatements in the agency’s books totaled at least $465 million for construction projects it financed for the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies. For construction projects designated as still “in progress,” meanwhile, it didn’t have sufficient documentation — or any documentation at all — for another $384 million worth of spending.
.. It also warned that the agency cannot reconcile balances from its general ledger with the Treasury Department.
.. the agency also maintained it was not surprised by the conclusions.
.. the Trump administration insists it can accomplish what previous ones could not.
.. That Pentagon-wide effort, which will require an army of about 1,200 auditors across the department, will also be expensive — to the tune of nearly $1 billion.
.. an additional $551 million to go back and fix broken accounting systems that are crucial to better financial management.
.. The accounting firm itself went further, asserting that the gaping holes uncovered in bookkeeping procedures and oversight strongly suggest there are more.
.. has repeatedly charged that “keeping track of the people’s money may not be in the Pentagon’s DNA.”
.. “I think the odds of a successful DoD audit down the road are zero,” Grassley said in an interview. “The feeder systems can’t provide data. They are doomed to failure before they ever get started.”