"Thank you very much for being here today. Collectively, you share responsibility for managing nearly 700 billion dollars of net operating costs and accounting for nearly 2 trillion dollars in assets. These are weighty responsibilities particularly when you consider the importance of your mission to our nation's national security and our warfighters. I want to thank you for your service and for the commitment you have demonstrated on this issue.
"Achieving audit readiness, when considered against this backdrop, is both complex and challenging.
This hearing is meant as a follow-up to the "Defense Financial Management and Auditability Reform Panel" which was appointed by Chairman "Buck" McKeon and Ranking Member Adam Smith in July 2011 to carry out a comprehensive review of the Department's financial management system. The purpose of the review was to oversee DOD's financial management system and its capacity for providing timely, reliable, and useful information for decision-making and reporting.
"I would like to thank Mr. Conaway who served as Chairman of the Panel and Mr. Andrews who served as Ranking Member. Because of your diligent efforts and outstanding leadership, we now have a much better understanding of the issues surrounding audit readiness and the path that lies ahead.
"Audit readiness is important for many reasons, but for me it's most important because of what it means for our national defense strategy. Put simply, every dollar we corral for our defense budget matters, especially as we struggle with looming cuts and fiscal constraints. The budget shapes not only our discussions on force size, structure, and capability, but ultimately determines whether our warfighters have the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs. This is the prism through which I view discussions about auditability and why I am pleased to be having this discussion."