Men and women in the armed forces are held to the highest standards and taught discipline, respect and service to our country but those high standards are not reflected by the way that the Pentagon conducts its fiscal affairs and record-keeping.
Recent failures in the Department of Defense’s bookkeeping procedures have resulted in the military wasting enormous sums of taxpayer dollars and maintaining inaccurate government records.
Those inaccuracies have far-reaching consequences, according to budgetary critics and good government advocates.
One report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) shows the Pentagon spent $458 million between 2010 and 2015 to train Afghan intelligence officers.
SIGAR states, “It is almost impossible to assess whether this assistance was worth the $457.7 million spent on these programs.”
The Pentagon did not have measures in place to track how well the program was working, and in the end had no idea whether the program was successful.
Unfortunately, this is becoming something of a trend at the DOD.
Between 2011 and 2015, the DOD spent an estimated $900 million on contract workers at the Pentagon and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that the Pentagon cannot confirm the extent to which these contract workers were used because information was not accurately recorded in federal databases in the first place.
The report explicitly states, “The extent to which DOD awards personal service contracts is unknown.”
When records are incorrectly entered in government databases, it can make contractors appear to be federal employees, leading to further inaccuracies.
“The Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest government agency with the largest discretionary budget and yet it has never been audited,” said Democrat Lisa McCormick. “Taxpayers deserve more accountability from an agency with 2.8 million employees and an annual budget of $580 billion.”
Ferreting out waste is important on its own, but this is about more than dollars and sense.
Wasteful spending and government inefficiencies threaten our military’s readiness. To protect our national security, it is crucial that the Pentagon streamline its processes, increase efficiency and use our tax dollars wisely as it works to strengthen our military.
McCormick urged Congress to mandate a full audit of the DOD and eliminate excess infrastructure through a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.