Pentagon promises clean audit by 2027 as it eyes $849.8 billion budget


The Pentagon said it will be able to accurately account for its spending by 2027 as it seeks $849.8 billion for fiscal year 2025.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said the Department of Defense plans to work toward getting a clean audit by 2027.

“We are only able to successfully defend the nation because of the support of the American people. We work to earn and maintain their trust each and every day by being good stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, and we know that a good measure of trust lies in our progress toward a clean audit,” she said. “I’m proud to highlight that several weeks ago, the U.S. Marine Corps became the first military service to achieve a clean audit. The level of rigor and discipline and teamwork involved in achieving this milestone serves as a model for teams across the department moving forward and brings us one step closer to achieving an overall clean report by 2027, as required by law.”

In February, a Congressional watchdog said it was again unable to determine if the federal government’s consolidated financial statements were reliable, largely due to problems at the Pentagon.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, which is Congress’ research arm, said it was hampered by “serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense,” among other issues.

“We will continue to improve our performance and optimize our processes, practices and systems across the department to deliver the nation’s warfighters and taxpayers as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Hicks said.

A clean audit doesn’t mean everything is rosy, but it would demonstrate the defense department could present its finances in line with generally accepted accounting principles.

David Walker, the former U.S. comptroller general and an advisory board member for Main Street Economics, told The Center Square a clean audit is a step in the right direction, but not a guarantee public money is being spent wisely.

A clean audit doesn’t deal with efficiency or effectiveness, Walker said. A clean audit means the numbers are presented fairly.

“The numbers could be right,” he said. “And there could be a huge amount of waste. And that occurs, I assure you.”