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Audit For 1.2Mn Missing Chem/Bio Protective Suits

For Immediate Release Contact: Doug Gordon
June 27, 2002

(202)225-5871 (w)
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House Approves Kucinich Amendment Requiring Defense Department Complete an Audit Amendment Follows Reports of 1.2 Million Missing Chemical and Biological Weapons Protective Suits

In the wake of a recent GAO report, which found that the Department of Defense could not account for 1.2 million protective chemical and biological suits, the House, today, passed an amendment offered by Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), that would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to complete an audit of protective suits and all other assets. The amendment to the FY '03 Defense Department Appropriations spending bill would withhold 1% of the budget of any section of the DoD if that section does not complete an audit. The Kucinich amendment, through bringing the crisis of the missing protective suits to light, was offered as a means to protect the troops.

Earlier this week, at a Government Reform Subcommittee meeting, requested by Kucinich, a GAO report determined that DoD could not locate 1.2 million chemical and biological protective suits needed to protect U.S. troops in combat.

The Pentagon's accounting systems are so bad that several military units actually thought they had an excess of the protective suits. As a result, they went ahead and resold suits costing $200 for $3 a piece on the Internet. Even worse, some suits were purchased by individuals now under investigation by a terrorism task force. A quarter of a million suits were determined two years ago to be defective also cannot be located and therefore could be shipped to soldiers in the field, according to official testimony.

"The Pentagon's inability to pass an independent audit has cost taxpayers trillions of dollars in wasted spending, and now recent evidence shows that Defense Department's accounting problems are putting our troops at risk," stated Kucinich. "My amendment would assure that the DoD follow the law, complete an audit, protect our troops with the equipment we've purchased, and assure taxpayers that their money is not wasted."

Since Congress mandated audits in the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Act of 1990, no major part of the Pentagon has passed the test of an independent audit.

According to the General Accounting Office (GAO) 2001 "High Risk" Series report the Department of Defense could not match $22 billion worth of expenditures to the items they purchased. The same reported stated, the Navy wrote off as "lost" over $3 billion dollars worth of in-transit inventory.

Kucinich's amendment, adopted today in the House, addresses a long-standing problem at the Department of Defense. In March 2000, the Pentagon's Inspector General found that of $7.6 trillion in accounting entries, $2.3 trillion were 'not supported by adequate audit trails or sufficient evidence to determine their validity'.


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