- Post 20 August 2012
- By Copy Editor
(Sen. Tom Coburn | Washington Examiner) - When the typical American family or business faces tough economic times, they tend to do two things. First, they take a close look at their spending. Second, they make hard decisions and set priorities.
The American people have such a low opinion of Congress because we often refuse to go through these steps. Instead of making hard decisions, we simply borrow more money and force the next generation to pay the bill. Nowhere is this bad habit more obvious than with Congress' oversight of defense spending. Congress passed a law 22 years ago -- the Chief Financial Officer Act of 1990 -- requiring the Department of Defense to pass an audit. In the 22 years since, Congress has never bothered to force DoD to comply with this law.
Fortunately, that is about to change. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and I recently introduced the Audit the Pentagon Act (S. 3487), which creates new incentives and enforcement mechanisms to force the Pentagon to pass an audit. Joining as us original co-sponsors were Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Scott Brown R-Mass., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Auditing the Pentagon is critically important not just because it is the law but also because our ignorance of how we spend defense dollars undermines our national security. When the Pentagon can't tell Congress -- or itself -- how it is spending money, high-priority defense programs face cuts along with low-priority programs, the exact situation in which we find ourselves today under sequestration. In short, this bill helps the Pentagon to help itself. For instance, the United States Marine Corps did a study in which the corps found that "for each $1 spent on financial improvement, an estimated $2.77 in value was created for the warfighter." A thorough financial audit, done correctly, will free up existing resources for national security. ... continues...