DoD Contract Audits Plunge in Quest for Thoroughness

June 11, 2012

Pentagon audits of its contractor costs have slowed to a trickle in recent years, prompting critics to charge that billions of dollars in questionable costs are likely being paid but not flagged by auditors.

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) last year conducted 7,390 audits, which is less than a third of the number — 26,623 — performed six years ago. The dramatic slowdown occurred even as the agency has ramped up hiring in the same period by about 20 percent.

One result of the slowdown: a daunting $573 billion backlog of contracts stretching back six years that have already been paid but still await auditing. Six years ago, the backlog figure was $110 billion, less than one-fifth of the current size. 

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