The United States Marine Corps just scored a major victory. Not over an enemy force, but over its finances and assets. The Marine Corps passed its audit for the first time, making it the first branch of the U.S. military to accomplish that.

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General announced on Friday that the Marine Corps received an unmodified opinion on its two-year audit. In the Office of Inspector General’s own works, auditors “obtained sufficient, appropriate audit evidence to determine that the financial statements present fairly the financial position and results of operations.” All was accounted for. The audit, which can be read here, looked at $46.3 billion in assets.

“This audit reflects the hard work of hundreds of Marines and civilians. They have put an incredible amount of effort into some groundbreaking work. We have enjoyed the best teamwork I have ever witnessed across the department,” Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, said in a statement. “Now, we can take what we’ve learned and share across the DOD enterprise to improve fiscal processes for all the military services.”

The Marine Corps has been trying to reach this goal for more than a decade. A partial audit was conducted in 2012 but resulted in a report deemed unreliable. The Marine Corps started doing full audits in the 2017 fiscal year. And since then it has failed over and over, until this two-year audit.

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This successful audit examined more than 3,000 documents, saw auditors from Ernst & Young visit more 70 sites and examine millions of items, ranging from vehicles to ammunition. They also examined financial records, including transactions and account balances to see where the money has gone. Everything had to be accounted for. 

The Marine Corps’ success is the first positive for the accounting side for the military. The American military has seen its budget grow year over year, but despite that, the Department of Defense struggles with accounting for all of its resources and assets. The other military branches have repeatedly failed. This past year the Pentagon failed its audit for the sixth straight year in a row. Michael McCord, the Pentagon’s comptroller, said at the time that a successful or “clean” audit is some time away, saying that for the Department of Defense “things are showing progress but it’s not enough.” One of the 29 different reports was the now-completed Marine Corps audit, but the Marines’ success does not tip the overall balance to the Pentagon’s favor. 

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