Thursday, March 02, 2006

It's not that DOD flunks audits, it's that DOD's books cannot be audited. DOD aspires for the position where it flunks an audit.

--- Winslow T. Wheeler of the Center for Defense Information, quoted in The Pentagon's Broken Book-keeping, Defense Industry Daily, 28 Feb 2006.

From the DID piece:

For instance, the DoD has about 5.2 million inventory items, compared with 11,000 at Wal-Mart or 50,000 at Home Depot stores. Now multiply that by the fact that the same item may have several different order codes in different DoD departments, which do not use the same format. The DoD also has $1.3 trillion in assets (Wal-Mart: $120 billion) and $1.9 trillion in liabilities (Wal-Mart: $20 billion).

Which means their problems may continue for some time. To add to the difficulties involved, the Pentagon only began putting income statements together in the 1990s; before that, it had never needed to put a value on anything. Some believe that overhang will cripple any "clean audit efforts," which stood at 16% of assets and 49% of its liabilities as of June 2005.

... The Raleigh-Durham News & Observer reports that the US Defense Department now hopes to settle the balance sheet on 47% of assets and 49% of liabilities by 2007.