Sen. Carper Commends Sec. Panetta for Taking Steps to Accelerate DOD Audit-Readiness, Improve DOD Accountability

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) commended Department of Defense Secretary Lean Panetta for his decision to move up an important Department of Defense (DOD) audit-readiness deadline to 2014. Sen. Carper also celebrated Sec. Panetta’s announcement that he has directed an increased emphasis on the Department’s financial accountability and ordered a full review of the Department’s financial controls.

“Today, Secretary Panetta took an important step toward improving the Department of Defense’s financial management systems, including putting into place real financial controls and programs that effectively track the Department’s spending and transactions,” said Sen. Carper. “Secretary Panetta has extensive budgetary leadership experience –including serving as Director of the Office of Management and Budget – and that expertise is already paying dividends for the taxpayer. He is sending a clear message that, when it comes to financial management, simply doing business as usual at the Pentagon is unacceptable. I’m heartened to see him moving forward aggressively to improve the Department’s efforts in this important area. Agencies can only manage what they can measure, and implementing efficient accounting and financial systems is critical to the proper management of the Department’s colossal budget and to reducing instances of waste and fraud. This step strikes me as a reasonable solution to a challenging problem – one that will still help us get our federal debt and deficit under control, while also protecting the critical programs on which our service members and their families depend. I look forward to working with Secretary Panetta to improve the Department’s efficiency in managing taxpayer funds in order to generate the savings needed from its budget.”

Today’s decision, which Sec. Panetta announced in his testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, builds on numerous hearings by Sen. Carper’s Subcommittee on the issue of DOD accountability and financial management, as well as Sen. Carper’s recent letter to Sec. Panetta that provides suggestions on approaches that DOD can use to generate substantial savings without causing undue harm to our military men and women or their families.