Bob Hale, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), told a Senate subcommittee this week that DoD’s new focused approach will successfully meet the challenges of improving financial management and achieving audit readiness.  Testifying with Beth McGrath, DoD’s Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO), before the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Hale emphasized that DoD’s financial managers are meeting their first obligation:  provide the warfighter with the necessary resources and financial services to enable them to do their job successfully.  At the same time, Hale said that DoD is making steady progress toward meeting its financial management improvement goals.  However, he acknowledged that the lack of auditable financial statements indicates to many a weakness in DoD financial management.  Hale pointed out that the Pentagon has taken an enterprise-wide approach to address the problem.  He and McGrath both emphasized that the active partnership between the DoD Comptroller and the DCMO, supported by DoD’s acquisition, logistics, and other business area communities, will enable the department to achieve its financial management goals.   Hale said the revised approach will provide a better chance of overcoming the highest hurdles that are hindering success by concentrating on budgetary information and completeness of assets.  Focusing on budgetary information, according to Hale, will lead to audit readiness.  And, he stressed, knowing the value and location of DoD’s mission critical assets (“what we have and where it is”) will improve operational capabilities.  The Comptroller stressed that just instituting a new approach on its own is not enough to achieve auditable financial statements.  He said DoD needs to improve its financial systems.  “Our goal is to deliver a streamlined systems environment comprised of IT systems that work seamlessly together to support effective and efficient business processes and operations.”  He described three key areas of concentration:  1) improving the way DoD buys and implements IT systems; 2) reducing the development of redundant capabilities by using capabilities from new ERP systems; 3) using Business Enterprise Architecture to maintain data integrity and ensure data exchange happens securely.  To tie all of these improvement areas together, Hale said the Comptroller and the DCMO will apply “a consistent level of process controls that cross organization and functional areas."