by Kathy Crest:
The Department of Defense has been under scrutiny for years, as trillions of taxpayer dollars have reportedly gone missing, and no one seems to know what happened to it. We finally have a president who fulfills campaign promises, and Trump is now going after the Pentagon for its lack of financial accountability.
The immense task is set to get underway in 2018 with over 2400 auditors ready to get to work scouring the department’s accounts, bases, property and weapons. As for how the audit would work, Jim Garamone of the official DOD News agency reports that the DOD’s Office of the Inspector General has “hired independent public accounting firms to conduct audits of individual components – the Army, Navy, Air Force, agencies, activities and more – as well as a department-wide consolidated audit to summarize all results and conclusions.”
The DOD had a budget of $590 Billion last year and has assets of $2.2 trillion. It is amazing that a federal agency with this much in funding and assets would go for decades without being audited. After the initial audit in 2018, an annual audit will be performed from then on out.
In 2001, Donald Rumsfeld, who was Secretary of Defense at the time, admitted that the DOD was missing some $2.3 trillion. He gave this account of the situation: “The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it’s stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.”
In 2010, Congress set a deadline for the DOD to get its affairs in order and prepare for an audit. In late 2016, the Washington Post reported that Pentagon officials had “buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the Defense budget.” The Defense Department’s lack of a financial reckoning has not seemed to hurt its Federal funding though, as last month, Congress approved nearly $700 billion for the department.
This past January, the Government Accountability Office said there are “serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense that have prevented its financial statements from being auditable.”
It seems that our government agencies are very irresponsible when it comes to handling taxpayer money, and it is time to hold them accountable for the appropriation and disbursement of the funds they receive from taxpayers each year. If there is one thing the mainstream media cannot deny about President Trump, it would be that he keeps his promises to the American public. It is far too easy for members of an agency like the DOD to steal money when there is no one to answer to. It’s like a bank teller saying, “I don’t know why my drawer is off every day by $1000 but you might want to implement a better system so that you can catch me stealing.”