CFO defends DOD accounting systems

The deputy chief financial officer of the Defense Department told members of a House subcommittee today that his agency has firm control of its equipment—- including its information technology systems—- despite reports citing widespread information mismanagement at DOD.

DOD is at the center of a storm that emerged this month when an audit of the first federal consolidated financial statement found the government's books riddled with financial discrepancies, missing equipment records and overpayments. The federal government spends roughly $1.9 trillion a year, and DOD spends more of that money than any other agency.

Nelson Toye, DOD's deputy CFO, said today that poor or missing information in the department's accounting systems does not necessarily indicate that federal property has been lost or stolen. "Despite the impression that might have been created, the department does have control of its assets," Toye said in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology. "And the department does have the information that it needs to make sound business decisions."

Despite Toye's statements, subcommittee member Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) framed the poor condition of financial information in DOD systems as a potential threat to national security and to taxpayers' wallets. "It really raises some questions about the national defense and how safe we are," Kucinich said. "We have a system of checks and balances. We're helping to write the checks here in Congress. The DOD doesn't know what the balance is."

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