Behind the Pentagon’s doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste

OUTRAGEOUS, MIND BOGGLING and disgusting. Be sure to read the entire article:

Behind the Pentagon’s doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste (Reuters)

. . . . 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.

As the use of plugs indicates, pay errors are only a small part of the sums that annually disappear into the vast bureaucracy that manages more than half of all annual government outlays approved by Congress.

The Defense Department’s 2012 budget totaled $565.8 billion, more than the annual defense budgets of the 10 next largest military spenders combined, including Russia and China.

How much of that money is spent as intended is impossible to determine.

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and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn’t need and on storing others long out of date.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. . . . (read the rest!)

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