November 1, 2011  

Expedited audit

To Leon Panetta for speeding up the effort to ready the Pentagon’s books for a proper audit.

In congressional testimony Oct. 13, the defense secretary called the Department of Defense’s plan for a full audit by 2017 unacceptably slow. He ordered his comptroller to prepare by 2014, three years early, the department’s Statement of Budgetary Resources, which tracks money received and spent.

That leaves the other three pillars of a successful audit — consolidated balances, changes in net position and net cost agencywide — still on a six-year schedule.

But given that no comptroller or defense secretary in recent memory has tamed the Pentagon’s financial mess, that’s biting off what you can chew.