Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed negative
unliquidated obligations (ULO) relating to the Air Force's purchase
of supply and equipment inventories, focusing on the: (1) age and
causes of ULO; and (2) procedures that the Air Force's air
logistics centers (ALC) used to report them to senior Air Force
officials and to Congress. GAO found that: (1) as of April 1988, 5
ALC had 6,257 individual negative ULO account balances totalling
about $512 million; (2) although regulations required immediate
corrective action on negative ULO, ALC had more than $132 million
in negative ULO that were at least 6 months old; (3) accounting
supervisors attributed the lack of attention to negative ULO to
staff shortages and clerical errors; (4) many Air Force officials
did not know about negative ULO problems, since the Air Force did
not require ALC to report negative ULO information; and (5)
although ALC did not maintain statistics on the causes of negative
ULO, many ALC accounting supervisors cited such internal control
weaknesses as contractor overpayments, appropriations accounting
errors, and inaccurate or incomplete obligations information as the
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