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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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President Trump Rules Out Deploying Troops to Restore Order, Even as Riots Show No Signs of Slowing Down

Trump has opted to not show strength in the face of this crisis.

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Just one day after President Donald Trump said he was willing to send military forces into states across the country to put down riots, he is reportedly backing off of the idea.

According to administration officials, Trump is happy with the result of yesterday’s enforcement measures during the riots – which included law enforcement officials being shot and police getting hit by SUVs. He will not be using the Insurrection Act to put troops on the streets to restore order anytime soon.

“The law is absolutely still on the table if things get really bad, but as of now he doesn’t think it’s going to have to go that far,” an administration official said to Axios.

“As President Trump has said, we cannot allow the voices of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by angry mobs, which is why the President will continue to take lawful, decisive action to stop the violence and restore the security of all Americans,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

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Trump made the pivot after RINO Republicans whined about his harsh rhetoric as the country burns due to extreme left-wing riots.

“I don’t think the Pentagon’s keen on getting brought into this unless they absolutely have to. We need to restore order, but using active duty military troops in circumstances like this is a fairly rare occurrence,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Tuesday.

“I would prefer that these things be handled by the state and local authorities,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said. “You want to de-escalate, rather than escalate.”

Yesterday, Trump declared that he would show zero tolerance for any more rioting and looting in the streets:

President Donald Trump announced tonight that he will deploy military force in cities that are gripped by riots if blue-state governors do not get their acts in order and do so soon.

“My first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people,” Trump said in his speech. “I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is exactly what I will do.”

Trump made it clear that he is an “ally of all peaceful protesters” who are protesting about injustices committed against George Floyd, who died during a police encounter with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. However, Trump will not allow the rioters to disgrace Floyd’s memory with their looting and wanton property destruction.

Trump announced that he would deploy “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers” in order to restore order in American cities. These forces could be deployed as soon as tonight considering how blue-state governors have done so poorly at keeping their states safe.

Earlier in the day, Trump had criticized governors throughout the country for their “weak” response to the growing violence.

President Trump has backed off at least temporarily from his boasts, showing yet again that his bark is much worse than his bite.

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