I am delighted to announce that we have recently received the 2013 audited Department of Homeland Security annual financial report, and for the first time in our history, the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security have received a clean, unqualified audit opinion. This is a significant milestone for our Service and the Department. A clean opinion indicates that an independent auditor has reviewed our financial statements and found them to be in full compliance with applicable laws and accounting standards. We are the first Armed Service to accomplish this achievement. Well done, shipmates.
The Coast Guard accounts for almost half of the asset value and one quarter of the annual obligations and financial statement activity in the consolidated DHS financial statements. Our wide range of missions, complex business activities and the age and quantity of our property makes the task of producing auditable financial statements a significant challenge. In true Coast Guard spirit, you successfully met this challenge.
Coast Guard men and women at every level of the Service have worked incredibly hard over the past 10 years to improve the quality and reliability of our financial information and make it auditable. It has been a true team effort. From the hard work, dedication and persistence of our storekeepers and property custodians in the field, to the extraordinary efforts of our financial managers, program managers, operators and mission support personnel in every corner of
the organization, you have all contributed to this historic achievement.
We should celebrate achieving this milestone. However, as in all of our mission areas, no success, regardless of how significant, can be a one-time event. We must sustain this clean audit opinion and work to continually improve the reliability of our financial information and reporting. We must also now direct significant attention to strengthening our internal controls over key financial and business activities.
We continue to face uncertain and stormy seas as our Nation works to resolve its fiscal challenges. These efforts will allow us to make the most of every dollar we receive to care for our people, give them the ships and aircraft and shore facilities they need, and continue to provide the American public the service they deserve from the world’s best Coast Guard.
Congratulations on this outstanding achievement and thank you for your continued efforts to ensure proper stewardship and accountability of our valuable resources.
Stand a taut watch.
Adm. Bob Papp, Commandant