In How You Got Screwed, I note the following:

On September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the Pentagon could not track $2.3 trillion in spending. Several years later, in 2016, the Pentagon announced a much larger number: $6.5 trillion in erroneous adjustments to their books. Weeks later, they made an additional announcement—that they had identified $125 billion in wasteful spending on administration. Simply put, the Pentagon’s financial systems are so bad they have no ability to correctly track what they’re spending.

To make matters worse, they have a bad habit of losing matériel in war zones, such as $420 million worth of weapons systems, vehicles, encryption devices, and communications gear in Afghanistan in 2014, and then the next year more than $500 million in military aid in Yemen.

Apparently not much has changed, as noted in a February 5 article by Politico:

One of the Pentagon’s largest agencies can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending, a leading accounting firm says in an internal audit obtained by POLITICO that arrives just as President Donald Trump is proposing a boost in the military budget.

Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.

This is yet more evidence of a crumbling empire – a total lack of accountability in the midst of record growth in military spending. Some financial discipline is well past due.

 

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