H/T Joe LaVeque
This comes as no surprise to me, even though the numbers are staggering. The Pentagon admits that it cannot account for 8.5 trillion dollars in has spent since 1996!
Lack of accountability, incompetence, laziness, carelessness, duplicate and/or redundant systems and authorities, have all led to a perfect example of big government dysfunction – our Department of Defense.
I can vouch for the Reuters report, below. I have had many years of experience in the Department of Defense (Army), as well as a few years as an independent contractor for DOD – it is a total mess!
The people who almost always pay the cost for this unforgivable dysfunction are the front line guys, the troopies, who typically have no recourse against the heartless and uncaring system. I have been personal victim of the “system,” the thoughtless cuts made by Congress, painfully shoved down the throats of everyday soldiers by willing accomplices in the senior command. I have many horror stories of my own to tell, but I will save those for another time.
Hopefully, Donald Trump can remedy this gross and unforgivable incompetence. I expect he will assemble a panel of experts to do just that.
One thing is certain – our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen, as well as the American taxpayer deserve far better than they are receiving!
For two decades, the U.S. military has been unable to submit to an audit, flouting federal law and concealing waste and fraud totaling billions of dollars
LETTERKENNY ARMY DEPOT, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania – Linda Woodford spent the last 15 years of her career inserting phony numbers in the U.S. Department of Defense’s accounts.
Every month until she retired in 2011, she says, the day came when the Navy would start dumping numbers on the Cleveland, Ohio, office of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s main accounting agency. Using the data they received, Woodford and her fellow DFAS accountants there set about preparing monthly reports to square the Navy’s books with the U.S. Treasury’s – a balancing-the-checkbook maneuver required of all the military services and other Pentagon agencies.
And every month, they encountered the same problem. Numbers were missing. Numbers were clearly wrong. Numbers came with no explanation of how the money had been spent or which congressional appropriation it came from. “A lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate,” Woodford says. “We didn’t have the detail … for a lot of it.”
The data flooded in just two days before deadline. As the clock ticked down, Woodford says, staff were able to resolve a lot of the false entries through hurried calls and emails to Navy personnel, but many mystery numbers remained. For those, Woodford and her colleagues were told by superiors to take “unsubstantiated change actions” – in other words, enter false numbers, commonly called “plugs,” to make the Navy’s totals match the Treasury’s.
Jeff Yokel, who spent 17 years in senior positions in DFAS’s Cleveland office before retiring in 2009, says supervisors were required to approve every “plug” – thousands a month. “If the amounts didn’t balance, Treasury would hit it back to you,” he says.
After the monthly reports were sent to Treasury, the accountants continued to seek accurate information to correct the entries. In some instances, they succeeded. In others, they didn’t, and the unresolved numbers stood on the books.
At the DFAS offices that handle accounting for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other defense agencies, fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure, Reuters has found. And plugging isn’t confined to DFAS (pronounced DEE-fass). Former military service officials say record-keeping at the operational level throughout the services is rife with made-up numbers to cover lost or missing information.
A review of multiple reports from oversight agencies in recent years shows that the Pentagon also has systematically ignored warnings about its accounting practices. “These types of adjustments, made without supporting documentation … can mask much larger problems in the original accounting data,” the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said in a December 2011 report.
Plugs also are symptomatic of one very large problem: the Pentagon’s chronic failure to keep track of its money – how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is wasted or stolen.