Retired Gen. Lloyd Austin told lawmakers on Tuesday that he planned to help clean up the Defense Department’s finance department.
Austin said that while the Pentagon has made progress fixing accounting errors – discovered in two comprehensive audits – he acknowledged there was more work to be done.
“You have my commitment that we will lean into this and continue to push to make sure we can get that clean audit in the not too distant future,” Lloyd said during his confirmation hearing before the Senate.
In 2018 and 2019 the Pentagon failed comprehensive audits, though it was able to solve 23% of the issues in the year between the two audits.
In a report issued by the Defense Department’s Comptroller’s office, the agency acknowledged that addressing the discrepancies was necessary to improve transparency.
“The DoD owes accountability and transparency to the American people,” the report stated. “The taxpayers deserve a level of confidence that DoD’s financial statements present a true and accurate picture of its financial condition and operations.”
The Department of Defense said that the audit immediately wrought benefits, including the discovery of equipment that was not recorded in their systems.
Trump instituted large increases in defense spending during his tenure.
The defense budget for fiscal 2021 is $716 billion.
Progressive lawmakers had called to cut the defense budget by 10%, though not nearly enough congress members jumped on board.
Biden has said he does not anticipate major cuts to defense spending.