LAKE MARY, Fla. (Monday, March 1, 2021) – The Institute of Internal Auditors today sent the Biden Administration a letter expressing “deep concern” over a proposal that would “effectively demolish” the U.S. Navy’s Internal Audit Service through a 70 percent budget reduction. The budget cut, proposed during the previous administration and currently under review, would “disproportionately divest crucial audit resources at a time when the risks facing the Navy and our nation are increasing,” according to the letter.
“The courageous individuals who serve on the front lines of our national defense also serve on the front lines of some of the most pressing risks facing our government institutions, including cybersecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic. They, and our country, deserve the support provided by strong oversight and governance,” IIA President and CEO Richard F. Chambers wrote to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and copied to President Joe Biden, Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker, and several key U.S. lawmakers.
The proposed budget reduction would reduce the Naval Audit Service to only 85 staff members from the current 290. “Why throw more than 200 dedicated and effective internal auditors overboard at a time when we need all hands on deck?” according to the letter. “I sincerely urge you to reconsider the proposed budget cut, which would effectively scuttle the audit service’s effectiveness and, conceivably, cost taxpayers more money, not less.”
In his weekly blog, ChambersontheProfession.org, Chambers adds that such a move by the Navy would “devastate critical assurance services,” and “severely weaken oversight of a massive organization.” He wrote that such an extreme reduction would “muzzle or starve the Naval Audit Service of its watchdog role.”