Reuters is running a long multi-part special on the Pentagon. From Newser’s brief summary:
A Reuters investigation looks deep inside one of the biggest and most complex works of military fiction of all time: the Pentagon’s books. Defense Department sources say it is routine to use phony numbers—”plugs”—to make the numbers of defense agencies match those from the Treasury in the face of missing and incorrect numbers. Reuters found that accountants with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency, would try to go back and correct their entries; they only succeeded sometimes, and the fraudulent accounting has helped conceal untold billions of dollars worth of waste. And yet “because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts,” the Pentagon has yet to undergo a single audit since 1996, though federal agencies are required to have them yearly. The lack of an audit means $8.5 trillion—almost $27,000 for every man, woman, and child in America—has gone unaccounted for.
The terrible bookkeeping—which involves thousands of different, largely obsolete systems from as far back as the 1970s—has resulted in waste including the $5.8 billion worth of supplies the Army lost track of between 2003 and 2011, when troops in Afghanistan and Iraq were struggling with shortages. Efforts to update and fix the military’s accounting systems have swallowed even more money, with tens of billions of dollars believed to have been blown on projects that were later abandoned…
Included in the confusion is the problem of paying soldiers the right amount on time. They are having problems even getting that right and soldiers are forced to fight with the bureaucracy just to keep from having to pawn all their valuables to get grocery money.
Why do Conservatives so easily slip from supporting the troops to supporting the military as a government department? Financially and economically the Pentagon has more in common with the old Soviet Union than it does with American economic freedom. It’s leadership is under the control of Liberals and are selected by Liberals. They are not conservative people. Right now their biggest push is to mandate the acceptance of homosexuality and same sex “marriage.” How is that conservative?
I guess people equate loyalty to the United States with a desire to defend the country against enemies. But how much of the Pentagon’s budget is devoted to real defense and not international political engineering? If defense is so important, then we ought to be outraged at the Pentagon for handling it so badly and mistreating the actual soldiers.
Yesterday I wrote about Illinois’ corruption and financial problems. But is Illinois that bad compared to the Pentagon? I doubt it.
Prosecutors will indict mayors for financial corruption, but the Pentagon is considered untouchable. And the problem is spreading to other areas. In 2012 the Department of Homeland Security joined the Pentagon as an agency that could not be properly audited.
Who will be next? The NSA? The FBI?