The first independent financial audits of the military services’ general funds did not produce clean opinions, the Pentagon’s comptroller told lawmakers Wednesday. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee about the Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness plan, Michael McCord noted the findings do not mean waste, fraud, or abuse was found, but that the services’ business systems and controls do not yet meet current accounting standards. Air Force Comptroller Ricardo Aguilera said the Fiscal 2015 audit showed the service is on the right track to balancing its checkbook, reconciling transactions, and implementing information technology controls. The service, Aguilera said, expects to produce financial statements that can be independently audited by the end of Fiscal 2017, as required by the Fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill, but noted it could take years to have an unmodified audit opinion, as has been the case for other federal agencies. “However, the process of preparing for an audit has led to significant improvements in our financial operations, and we fully expect that trend to continue,” he said. (Aguilera’s prepared testimony.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.