Spare parts, sparer accounting

The Defense Department reports that a shortage of spare parts has caused a decline in military readiness. Yet because of incomplete financial data, auditors could not determine how much of the $1.1 billion appropriated for spare parts was actually spent for that purpose.

According to a General Accounting Office report issued in June, DOD allocated 92 percent of the money for spare parts into the military services' operation and maintenance account.

However, DOD's financial management system "does not show the extent to which this funding was used for spare parts," according to the report.

Once the funds are in those accounts, DOD does not routinely track the amount of funds used for spare parts. "They could have been used for a variety of purposes, including spare parts," the GAO report said.

The report shows the importance of having good financial records, said Greg Kutz, GAO's director of financial management and assurance. There is a lot of concern about giving an organization money if they don't know where they are spending it.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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