The Dirty Truth About the Marines’ Clean Audit
Policy + Politics

The Dirty Truth About the Marines’ Clean Audit

REUTERS/Larry Downing

Talk about embarrassing. The Defense Department’s inspector general just withdrew the first successful audit of the Marine Corps. Why? The IG discovered the branch was keeping transactions in a separate suspended account that was never brought to the auditors’ attention – until now.

In 2013, the U.S. Marine Corps became the first military branch ever to be successfully audited by the DOD’s inspector general. It was an impressive feat that appeared to crack the Pentagon’s decades-long failure to balance their books.

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Chuck Hagel, then Secretary of Defense, congratulated the Marines and touted them as an example of the Pentagon’s commitment to fiscal discipline by the 2017 goal. “This development marks an important milestone on the path to achieving greater accountability … and more effective management of the defense enterprise writ large,” Hagel said in a statement back then

Auditors, however, have obtained new information about separate U.S. Treasury accounts with Marine Corps transactions that were not included earlier.

Auditors said these accounts temporarily hold transactions that aren’t counted against appropriations. When the IG first did its review, it didn’t know the Marine Corps had transactions suspended in these accounts. Now the IG said it “recently obtained evidence” suggesting otherwise. It’s unclear why auditors were not made aware of these accounts during their initial investigation.

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The deputy inspector general for auditing, Daniel Blair, has promised a revised audit based on the new information.

DOD is still hanging onto its goal of being successfully audited by 2017.

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