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Schweikert Bill Would Prevent Defense Department Audit Errors, Financial Waste

March 13, 2024

By Elizabeth Troutman |

A bill introduced by Republican Rep. David Schweikert aims to prevent wasted taxpayer dollars on Defense Department audit errors.  

The Algorithms Utilized to Detect Institutional Transactions (AUDIT) Act ensures the audit of the Department of Defense’s financial statements is conducted using artificial intelligence to help streamline the internal review process. It also mandates that the technology be developed by both the secretary of defense and Inspector general of the Department of Defense.

“Since 2018, the federal government has spent nearly $1 billion annually trying to audit the Department of Defense, and it costs substantially more to correct the mistakes after its completion,” Schweikert said in a statement. “This legislation helps accelerate the adoption of innovative auditing tools to reduce costs and foster creative solutions that will increase government accountability. 

The Pentagon employs 2.9 million people and has over half a million assets worth $3.8 trillion, while its liabilities total $4 trillion, according to Schweikert’s news release. This means personnel must count every single piece of inventory, including military equipment, supplies, and property. In 2019, DOD’s audit totaled $428 million in costs. Correcting the errors after the audit increased the costs by an additional $472 million.

Since it first started auditing itself in 2018, the Defense Department has failed to achieve a clean financial audit each year The 2023 audit required 1,600 auditors and 700 site visits to complete, costing $187 billion and earning a “disclaimer of opinion” rating. This means the department was unable to provide enough financial information to auditors for them to form an opinion.

The bill requires the defense secretary to retire outdated financial management systems that have led to the Pentagon failing six consecutive audits, and directs the secretary to adopt newer technology to facilitate the audit. 

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to help modernize how Congress conducts such oversight to protect hardworking taxpayers,” Schweikert said.

Elizabeth Troutman is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send her news tips using this link.

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