Military Procurement Program and Defense Spending

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-07-28.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)


    Dear Mr. Horton:
          With your letter of June 25, lg'& you enclosed a copy of a
    letter dated June 14, lg'7'1, which you received from a constituent,
    Mr. Timothy D. Marinetti.    Mr. @ri.netti  expressed concern over
    the military  procurement program and asked to be advised whether
     any in-depth iiG%%5gations of Pentagon spending have been under-
    taken by the Congress. You may find the following     information use-
    ful in replying to him.
             Each year the military    departments prepare detailed budget
      estimates of the funds they request for a particular          fiscal year.
      These estimates are retiewed by the offices of the secretaries of
    'the departments, by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, by the
      Office of Management and Budget, and by the President.            The budget
      estimates are then submitted to the Congress where they are reviewed
      and are made the subject of hearings before committees of both
      Houses. Many of the congressional committees have staffs that conduct
      intensive investigations      of the various military    programs and submit
      material to the committees for their use in condueti,ng the hearings.
      Finally,   the Congress enacts legislation     authorizing    and appropriat-
      ing funds for the fiscal year involved and for specific things, such
      as procurement of aircraft,      missiles,  naval vessels, tracked combat
      vehicles, and other weapons. Other categories requiring appropriated
      funds for defense include research, development, test and evaluation,
      operation and maintenance, and military       construction.
           At each level of the aforementioned reviews, the budget estimates
    are subject to adjudment,    both upward or downward, and frequently
    they are adjusted while being considered in the Congress. For more
    detailed information regarding congressional authorization    and appro-
    priation   of funds for the military  programs, you might want to enclose
    copies of the following   Public Laws with your reply.
          --Public Law 91-&l,   Armed Forces Appropriations             Authorization
             Act, for fiscal year 19'71.
          --Public Law 91-668, Department of Defense Appropriation                Act,
             for fiscal year 191.

            In 1921 the Congress established the U.-----S. General Accounting
     Office_ in the legislative   branch of the Government to serve as an
     insendent,     nonpolitical,  and reliable  source of assistance in
     carrying out its constitutional     power over the expenditure of
     public funds by the executive agencies and departments in the
     Federal Government. The General Accounting Office is headed by
     the Comptroller General of the United States who is appointed for
     a term<of 15 years. The duty of the General Accounting Office to
     furnish assistance to the Congress, its committees, and members is
     one of the most important responsibilities     of the Office, and this
     duty receives the constant attention of its top officials.
             The act establishing     the General Accounting Office in 1921 re-
     quires the Comptroller General to submit an annual report on the
     activities    of the Office.      Although this report is addressed to the
     President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representa-
..   tives, it receives rather wide distribution,         and we are enclosing a
     copy for fiscal year 1970, which you may want to send with your re-
     ply to Mr. Marinetti.        This report is a good indication    of the constant
     attention that the Congress, with assistance of the General Accounting
     Office, gives to the expenditures of the executive         departments and
     agencies, including the Department of Defense, in its efforts to pre-
     vent the waste of public funds.
            In consideration of the nature of the inquiry, you may want to
     call   attention to the following portions of the report.
            --Chapter    one, Highlights     of Activities     for the year.
            --Chapter    two, Assistance     to the Congress.
            --Chapter    five,    Audit of Defense Operations and Programs.
            --Chapter    six,    Audit of International      Operations   and Programs.
            --Ekhibit    2, page 134, Mumber of Audit Reports issued during
               fiscal   year 1970.
            '--Exhibit   9, page 140, Functions       of the U, S. General
                Accounting Office.
          There is also an appendix to the annual report for fiscal year
     1970 which we are enclosing and we call your attention to section II,
     which surnmarizes the financial savings attributable    to the work of
     the General Accounting Office, including collections     and other measur-
     able savings.   This summary shows collections   from the military  depart-
     ments for fiscal year 190 of @,63g,oOO and other measurable savings


of $150,770,000.   The details of other measurable savings from all
the executive departments and agencies, including the military,       are
shown on pages 126 to 130. Additions2 financial     savings not f'ully
or readily measurable are shown on pages 131 to 140, end savings
and benefits to others are shown on page 141. Section III of the
appendix beginning on page 142 shows the individual     audit reports
issued during the year; those relating to the military     departments
begin on page 164.
     Also, as a matter of possible interest to your constituent,
we are enclosing a copy of an article that recently appeared in the
Chicago Tribune, which gives a brief summary of the activities   of
the General Accountfng Office,
      The Lockheed matter, as you know, is actively under considera-
tion by the Congress at the present time. The General Accounting
Office examined the data provided by the company bearing upon its
financial  problems.  From this exsmination the General Accounting
Office was able to make certain recommendations to the Congress.
       In view of the above information,    we believe your constituent
will agree that a great deal of effort by the Congress and its in-
vestigating    committees, with the assistance of the General Accounting
Office, is put forth in an effort to minimize the waste of public
funds in the military     procurement program and defense spending, in
general.     Because of the vastness of these programs and the relatively
limited resources of the congressional investigating       staffs and the
General Accounting Office, however, it is unlikely      that all waste of
funds in defense spending can be entirely eliminated.
                                         Sincerely   yours,

                                         Comptroller Geieral
                                         of the United States
Enclosures   - 4

The Honorable Frank Horton
House of Representatives