The Pentagon has for years routinely been doctoring its budget numbers, and has no idea where billions of its money is going.


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Good enough for government work: The Pentagon has for years routinely been doctoring its budget numbers, and has no idea where billions of its money is going.

In its investigation, Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors; how much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn’t known. And it repeatedly falls prey to fraud and theft that can go undiscovered for years, often eventually detected by external law enforcement agencies.

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7 comments

  • Galard Mills

    Reuters… they’re the people who Photoshop their news photos. I don’t think they bring clean hands to any investigation.

  • Yeah, point well taken. At the same time, I find it completely believable that the Pentagon’s finances are as screwed up and corrupted as this report alleges.

  • Orion314

    Especially in light of the fact that corruption at the pentagon is a story I’ve been hearing and reading about for years and years. How much smoke do the taxpayers need before they see the fire? It’s a wide open money pit…

  • Kelly Starks

    Its not just the Pentagon. None of the gov agencies use anything like solid (or even legal) accounting practices. So its common for any of them to be unable to really answer basic questions like – how much did you spend on that?… This is often allows rediculas cost claims for various program – allowing congress to pork up the numbers coming into a district from a given project.

    A flip side is they can bury other things costs in a unrelated program. For example the shuttle program carried the cost for supporting lots of NASA facilities, that wern’t in anyway supporting the shuttle; but since NASA politically couldn’t close them – someone needed to pay for them and their staffs. So Shuttle carried billions in overhead for departmenbts, buildings, etc – that never did anything related to the Shuttles program or its cargo.

  • ken anthony

    Corruption in government? Say it isn’t so!

  • Edward

    Agreed. It does not seem that the unaccounted-for money in any of the government agencies is embezzled into individuals’ pockets, but it seems that it is not going where Congress had intended — or where Congress wanted us to think it was going.

    As people keep saying, if a company were run like this, people would go to jail. We keep complaining about lax accounting in the government, but unlike companies, we do not insist upon annual independent auditing of the books.

    I propose that we start insisting upon quality control in government.

    Auditing the books and making people accountable would be a nice start, and should result in better retention of receipts and invoices for tracking where that money is going (and ensuring that the money is allocated to keeping NASA facilities open rather than depending upon accounting slight of hand).

    Quality in legislation would be a good next or concurrent step — reduce the unintended consequences, such as the things that we are finding in the ACA (Obamacare) law. If businesses produced products bad as our government’s laws, they would quickly go out of business. We pay a lot of money for those laws, we should get quality laws.

  • Kelly Starks

    You know – it should be a gov project to have themselves aidited. I mean its not like they pay in cash, or have their own bank – and banks have EXCEPTIONALLY DETAILED of every transfer of money between all accounts – so all the data is there.

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