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Audit the Pentagon!

There is widespread public opinion that taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent. Making government transparent and accountable is an issue that transcends left vs. right politics. And all of us should work together to shed light on opaque government agencies and departments.

Take for example, the Department of Defense. Despite Congress passing a law in 1990 requiring all federal departments to complete an annual audit, the DoD has never been fully audited by the Government Accountability Office.  Every single federal department is audited yearly except for the Pentagon. That needs to change.

There is no good reason that the Pentagon shouldn’t be audited. It is just as susceptible to waste as any other government department, if not more. The Pentagon is the largest and most expensive federal government department but its spending has been isolated from any serious scrutiny. At a time when our national debt is quickly approaching $16 trillion, we cannot afford to neglect examining military spending.

The Department of Defense has made a decades-long promise to get its books in order for an audit by 2017. But according to some reports, the Pentagon is not on track to meet this deadline. This is inexcusable and must be fixed.

Senator Tom Coburn, along with a bipartisan group of 8 senators, has thankfully introduced the “Audit the Pentagon Act.” This would add pressure on the Pentagon to get their books in order by stalling the production of new weapons systems until the Pentagon can perform an audit.

According to Senator Coburn, “This bill ends the culture of ‘don't ask, don't tell' budgeting within the Pentagon that says, ‘don't ask us how we're spending money because we can't tell you.”

We applaud Senator Coburn for introducing this important piece of legislation and bringing attention to the secrecy of the Pentagon. Taxpayers deserve to know how the Pentagon is spending their hard-earned money.

Peter (Ward) Saemisch

In reference to: "There is no good reason that the Pentagon shouldn’t be audited...." I agree with the Audit, just not an open public information audit.

There are three reasons that I believe the DoD should be audited in a closed fashion:
1) An audit will convey strategic planning and tactical capability to our enemies and our Allies enemies. (and possibly feeder data to our secrets)
2) An audit will reveal priorities, resolve and financial capability to our enemies. (all important intelligence)
3) Most wouldn't understand the audit, the budget, the items and processes wtihin Defense Acquisition System. The DoD budget cycles are on two and five year cycles as well as compartmentalized by expense and breadth. Even the IGs and professional bean counters have problems with interpreting the leviathan that Congress and Industry have created.

That said, the DoD needs auditing to keep Congress and Industry in check. Just keep the details in closed session. Please!