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SECNAV Spencer Says Navy Spending Audit Underway

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer tours the inactive Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate Ex-USS Elrod (FFG-55) during a visit to the Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia. US Navy Photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An audit accounting for where Navy dollars are spent — long a lawmaker talking point — is now underway, said Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer on Monday.

An audit of how the Navy buys equipment and pays for personnel is in the works and already guiding financial decisions, Spencer said, while speaking Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The Navy’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget request is for $194.1 billion, and Spencer anticipates questions from lawmakers about how he will spend the money. When asked, he wants to be ready with answers.

“If I’m Congress, I’m asking for a receipt. I’m going to ask where did the money go, and what did it go to,” Spencer said. “The audit will be the primary tool for how we respond.”

A Navy spending audit has long been a request from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. An audit first appeared on Spencer’s to-do list before he was even sworn in. During his confirmation hearing, Spencer pledged to bring transparency to the Navy’s budget process.

In November, after becoming Secretary of the Navy, to the prospect of a Navy audit was again brought up by McCain while his committee considered approving a pair of Spencer’s assistant secretaries, Thomas Modly, now the Under Secretary of the Navy and James Geurts, now the Navy’s top weapons buyer.

Now underway, Spencer said instead of treating the audit as a task, his leadership team is using the audit was a way to learn about how the Navy and Marine Corps spends money. He didn’t provide details but did say initial results are illuminating.

“We’re uncovering the way we do business and when that happens we start shining lights on logistical distribution, investments in weapons systems,” Spencer said. “You also get some clarity on where your dollars are being spent.”

  • Marcd30319

    I was at the special commissioning of the Elrod at Brunswick, Georgia, in 1985 as part of the Navy League. I took my parents and sister to it. I hope ex-FFG-55 finds another fleet to serve; she was a fine ship.

  • airider

    Don’t get confused here folks. Accountability for the money is there. The problem lays with the multiple antiquated financial systems in use to keep track of it all in a coordinated fashion. Trying to pull together a comprehensive audit with these differrent systems is challenge.

  • Dean687

    When all the accounting is done and they discover that Lockmart is sucking up 50% of the budget, hopefully the Donald will say “you’re fired” and we can bring back to sanity and taxpayer value to defense procurement. Until thing Lockmart will continue to rape us without pause.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    What I want to know is if there is a picture of SECNAV Spencer checking out the Iowa-class battleships for reactivation the way he checked out the FFG-7 class (obviously never released but….. did he check them out…? That’s what I want to know!)

  • NavySubNuke

    I’m guessing telling lawmakers that they can have the results of the spending audit the next time the NDAA and the Defense Appropriations bills are passed and signed into law prior to October 1 of the fiscal year in question wouldn’t go over well but damn would it feel good….

  • Dean687

    Yes, of course. The first thing we need to do is sever the pipeline from the Admiralty to executive suites. No retired military officer (O-5 and above) should be allowed to work for ANY defense firm for a period of at least 7 years after their retirement. Once we do that we’ll eliminate the incentives for the Admiralty to do the ‘wrong’ things. After all, if a Admiral pushes for more and more LCS then he is guaranteed a cushy corner office with Lockmart.