The thousands of wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan have overwhelmed the Army's aging finance system. An internal audit conducted earlier this year by Hurst, then a captain in an Army finance battalion, showed that 82 percent of the 1st Infantry Division soldiers wounded in Iraq had "significant errors" in their paychecks. Based on his own investigation of 123 wounded 1st Infantry Division soldiers, and another examination of problems with soldiers stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, Hurst estimates in his March 2005 audit that up to 4,000 of the soldiers seriously injured in Iraq have encountered payroll problems.
Congress has already raised concerns about National Guard and Reserve soldiers who have had pay problems, and the House Government Reform Committee plans further hearings this week to examine the military's attempts to improve that pay system. But the audit of the 1st Infantry Division shows that the errors are not confined to reservists. Indeed, the Government Accountability Office, in the wake of the hearings, has expanded an ongoing investigation to include pay problems with active-duty troops.