Commissary Agency Passes Audit as Lawmakers Seek to Curb Funding

A new audit of Defense Commissary Agency financial reports shows that the agency has fiscal practices that are efficient and accurate, officials announced today.

The "unmodified" audit opinion, issued by the independent firm CliftonLarsonAllen, marks the 14th year running that the commissary has passed the financial test.

The assessment comes despite multiple proposals from some lawmakers and the Defense Department to cut the agency's budget, shutter stores or combine the system with other military retail programs.

The agency is one of the few parts of the Pentagon to receive regular audits.

Among the US government's chief financial reporting problems, Comptroller General Gene Dodaro told a Senate committee on April 6, is continuing financial management problems within the Defense Department, which does not currently conduct complete audits.

"This unmodified opinion tells our patrons that the finances of their commissary benefit are accurately reported, open and accessible for review," Edna Willis, chief of compliance and reporting for the commissary's resource management branch, said in a statement.

Among the areas examined by the auditors are the commissary's disbursements for accounts payable and undelivered orders, funds available and the financial reporting and compilation process, time and attendance, annual inventories and the agency's compliance with laws and regulations.

An "unmodified" opinion means that the agency has received good marks on those factors year after year, officials said.

In 2015, the commissary agency received $1.4 billion in taxpayer funding, generated about $6 billion in sales and process about 90 million transactions, officials said.

The Pentagon in its 2017 budget request proposed decreasing the commissary's funding by about $221 million, while a pilot program approved in 2015 will likely raise prices in some stores.

--Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @amybushatz.

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