The Defense Department's first-ever audit is turning up a lot of missing assets, ranging from buildings on bases to entire squadrons of attack helicopters.
The U.S. Defense Department is the world’s largest employer with 3.2 million people on its payroll and nearly $2.4 trillion in assets, spread throughout the globe. But it’s never faced an audit before now, led by President Donald Trump’s pick for DoD comptroller, David Norquist.
In a hearing Wednesday, he told Congress the audit just got under way and actions to correct problems found by it will likely cost about $920 million.
"This is the first time the department will undergo a full financial statement audit," he added. "A financial statement audit is comprehensive and occurs annually and it covers more than financial management. It tests the vulnerability of our security systems and it validates the accuracy of personnel records and actions."
The audit will be conducted using 1,200 auditors who will comb through every record. The process will likely be time consuming, the Homeland Security Department audit Norquist oversaw took 10 years to complete. In the meantime, the effort has already led to some tangible early results. The Army has discovered 39 UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters that weren’t properly reported. The Air Force has discovered 478 buildings at 12 of its bases that weren’t recorded in its real estate inventory, either.
The helicopters alone are worth more than $830 million.