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Pentagon tells Congress first-full DoD audit on track; 1,200 bean counters deployed in effort

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2018 — A departmentwide audit is important for business reform, for Congress and for the taxpayer, the Defense Department’s comptroller told the House Armed Services Committee today.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan are fully behind this effort, Norquist told the committee.

While the department has auditors looking at various contracts or processes, “this is the first time the department will undergo a full financial statement audit,” he said. “A financial statement audit is comprehensive and occurs annually and it covers more than financial management.”

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Watch this clip of Norquist’s testimony:

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Audit’s Purpose

This audit will verify the count, location and condition of military equipment and real property. “It tests the vulnerability of our security systems and it validates the accuracy of personnel records and actions,” Norquist said.

The department will have 1,200 financial statement auditors assessing the books and records to develop a true account of the state of the department, the comptroller said. It will take time to pass all the process and system changes necessary to pass the audit and get a so-called “clean opinion,” he said. He noted that it took the Department of Homeland Security — a much smaller and newer agency — 10 years to get a clean audit.

“But we don’t have to wait to see the benefits of a clean opinion,” Norquist said. “The financial statement audit helps drive enterprise improvements to standardize our business practices and improve the quality of our data.”

The audit will provide information and accountability to the American people. “The taxpayers deserve the same level of confidence as a shareholder that DoD’s financial statement presents a true and accurate picture of its financial condition and operations,” he said. “Transparency, accountability and business process reform are some of the benefits of a financial statement audit.”

An audit will improve accountability, the comptroller said, noting that, for example, an initial Army audit found that 39 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were not properly recorded in the property system. “The Air Force identified 478 structures and buildings at 12 installations that were not in its real property system,” he added.

The audit should cost about $367 million in 2018, Norquist said, which is about the same percentage of the overall budget that large firms like Proctor and Gamble or IBM spend on their audits. “We also anticipate spending about $551 million in 2018 fixing problems identified by the auditors,” he said.

Finding better ways to do business will allow DoD to invest in greater lethality for the force, the comptroller said.

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NEW: Joe Biden Bashes Incoming Trump Administration In Leaked 2016 Call to President of Ukraine

Completely inappropriate.

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Joe Biden speaks in critical and partisan terms of the incoming Trump administration in a new leaked call to the President of Ukraine unveiled Wednesday.

In the call, conducted in November 2016 a week after then-candidate Trump’s election victory, Biden bashes the incoming administration to the foreign leader, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Biden assails the Trump transition team as incompetent, turning down the idea of visiting the country before the January transition before Trump is “fully briefed” on matters related to Ukraine.

In a second call, Biden asks for Poroshenko to describe his conversations with incoming President Trump, going to to speak of Trump in more dismissive terms. He describes Trump as a “dog who caught the car, and who doesn’t know what to do.” Not quite a “dog-faced pony soldier,” but definitely not an appropriate way for an outgoing vice president to describe an incoming president to a foreign leader.

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A Ukrainian comedian originally released the calls, suggesting questionable operational security within the conversations of Joe Biden and Poroshenko. Biden has a lengthy history of ethical questions regarding his relationship with Ukraine, including looking the other way as his son Hunter secured an extremely lucrative position at a Ukrainian oil company without any experience whatsoever in the energy industry.

Biden himself would later go on to demand the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor who was investigating corruption allegations against the younger Biden, a clear conflict of interest Biden merely dismissed when he spoke openly of securing the prosecutor’s firing at a Council on Foreign Relations public event.

This is a totally inappropriate way for a Vice President to speak to a foreign leader, and the public should be concerned about how Biden plans to conduct diplomacy should he be elected President.

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