For nearly two decades, the US Department of Defense has concealed waste and fraud totaling $8.5 trillion, according to a new report by Reuters.
Since 1996, the American taxpayer money that Congress has allocated towards the Pentagon has never been accounted for, the investigatve report found. Military agencies failed to supply a clear monthly account of the money they spent. Instead, they provided fake numbers that would match up accordingly with what the Treasury department expected to see.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) found that “a lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate,” said former DFAS employee Linda Woodford.
Reuters’ investigation found that of the $565 billion Congress budgeted for the Pentagon in 2012, it is “impossible to determine” how much of that money was spent the way it was intended to be.
The 2013 budget for the Department of Defense after sequestration is $565.8 billion.
In August 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a video to the Pentagon in which he said, “The Department of Defense is the only federal agency that has not produced audit-ready financial statements, which are required by law. That’s unacceptable.”
The Pentagon is the only federal agency that has yet to submit its records for proper auditing. So, Congress passed legislation in 2009 that required the department to be ready to do so by 2017.
The investigation shows part of the books is scheduled for audits in 2014, but due to the agency’s reliance on thousands of different accounting systems, it is expected to miss the deadlines.
The Pentagon has not yet responded to the report, which is the second in a series titled “Unaccountable.” After the release of the first report in July, Sen. Tom Carper said that he would examine the issue of Pentagon payroll problems in a hearing later this year.