License to Steal: Senate Subcommittee Zeros in on
Financial Control Failures in Department of Defense

September 25, 1998

Comment: #193

Discussion Thread: # 169 and related commentaries.

Most readers know that the Joint Chiefs are scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, September 29 to discuss the readiness nose dive, which was ignored by the civilian leaders of the Pentagon's program review between June and August. The is another important hearing next week that bears directly on the causes of the readiness and modernization problems facing the Pentagon. On Monday, September 28, the Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts will hold a hearing on "License to Steal: Administrative Oversight of Financial Control Failures at the Department of Defense." The subject is corrupt accounting systems and some of their consequences.

Congress is hell bent on throwing money at the Pentagon, yet as I have said repeatedly, it is impossible to figure out how to spend the money in a way that efficiently solves our modernization and readiness problems, because the bookkeeping system is a disgraceful shambles. This hearing will discuss part of this crucially important problem--by focusing on some of the consequences of the DoD's failure to maintain a robust double entry accounting system with checks and balances.

The hearing will be chaired by Senator Charles Grassley in room 226 of the Dirkson Senate Office Building at 1:00 PM on 28 September. For those readers who are interested in attending this hearing, I urge readers to re-read Comment #169 beforehand to remind yourself to the constitutional issues at stake and the Pentagon's attitudes toward them. Those who can not attend can call Charles Larder at 202-224-6736 to obtain a transcript of the proceedings.

Chuck Spinney

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