After forever and trillions of dollars unaccounted for, the Pentagon will finally be audited.
On December 7 Defense Department Comptroller David Norquist announced he received notification from the DoD Inspector General that an audit involving 2,400 auditors will begin this month.
The Pentagon is no stranger to criticism over serious waste and purposefully sloppy accounting. A DoD Inspector General’s report from 2016 – which appears to be unavailable on the DoD website (but fortunately WAS archived)- found that in 2015 alone a staggering $6.5 trillion in funds was unaccounted for out of the Army’s budget, with $2.8 trillion in “wrongful adjustments” occurring in just one quarter.
In 2015, the Pentagon denied trying to shelve a study detailing $125 billion in waste created by a bloated employee counts for noncombat related work such as human resources, finance, health care management and property management. The report concluded that $125 billion could be saved by making those operations more efficient.
On September 10th, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions,” after a Pentagon whistleblower set off a probe. A day later, the September 11th attacks happened and the accounting scandal was quickly forgotten.
And twenty years before that, DoD analyst Franklin C. Spinney exposed what he called “accounting games,” saying “Those numbers are pie in the sky. The books are cooked routinely year after year.” In a 2002 testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform, Spinney laid out the DoD’s accounting quagmire of un-auditable books and budget projections which don’t match reality.
This will be a massive undertaking. While the phrase “worth the wait” may not be appropriate, a tidy sum should be saved by plugging up Pentagon spending black holes.