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Audit agency ensures efficient use of resources

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Feb. 06, 2003) -- A recent reorganization of the Air Force Audit Agency will help it ensure the service is making the most efficient use of its resources, Pentagon officials said this week.

The agency is responsible for providing Air Force leaders with auditing services, the results of which let officials at all levels know if their unit is meeting its own goals, said Kenneth Gregory, deputy auditor general.

The the Air Force Audit Agency is responsible for providing Air Force leaders with auditing services.

"We serve all levels of the Air Force management and provide independent, objective and constructive evaluations," Gregory said. "We could look at financial activities in the Air Force, or we could look at program results. What we are really looking at is how well the Air Force is executing the programs that have been established, are they on track to achieve the objective results that have been set?"

The reorganization creates three audit "centers of excellence" for performing Air Force-wide audits, Gregory said.

The acquisition and logistics audits directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is responsible for audits in supply, maintenance, acquisition, competitive sourcing, foreign military sales, research and development, and test and evaluation.

The financial and systems audits directorate at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., focuses on financial management, financial support, information systems development, information systems security and communications.

The support and personnel audits directorate at Brooks City-Base, Texas, assumed audit responsibilities for work in the personnel, training, services, health care, air and space operations, and engineering and environmental areas.

Audits assist the Air Force in ensuring funds are spent efficiently and effectively, Gregory said.

"In the past decade, the auditor general's office has identified an average of $1 billion a year where the Air Force could potentially redirect funds to better meet mission requirements," he said. "For example, audits can help ensure the Air Force is buying the right spare parts, in the appropriate quantities and at the best value price."

Auditors monitor contracts to determine whether the Air Force receives goods and services at the right price, quantity and quality. Also, auditors continually monitor Air Force funds to ensure obligations of those funds are valid and in compliance with fiscal law requirements. In 2002, the auditor general's office more than doubled the $1 billion average, discovering nearly $2.4 billion the Air Force could put to better use.

"It was a very significant year for us," Gregory said.

To put that number in perspective, those funds amount to approximately 2.4 percent of the overall Air Force budget for fiscal 2003 -- around $107 billion. The total cost for providing the auditing work to the Air Force, said Mike Barbino, assistant deputy auditor general, comes to around $67 million a year -- a 35:1 return on investment.