March 17, 2016

Pentagon budget considered "unauditable"

Ralph Nader -The Reuters report put this colossal dereliction simply: “A law in effect since 1992 requires annual audits of all federal agencies—and the Pentagon alone has never complied.”

All $585 billion and more, e.g., for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, of your money—not just unaudited, but, in the sober judgement of the Government Accountability Office  of the Congress, this vast military budget is year after year unaduitable.

H.R. 942, the “Audit the Pentagon Act of 2014,” is supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives. ... Republican right-winger, Mike Conaway (R-TX) used to be a CPA in private life. At a Congressional hearing in 2011, he told Defense Secretary Robert Gates: “I go home to folks in West Texas, and when they find out the Department of Defense can’t be audited, they are stunned.”

Enormous scandal after enormous scandal is reported by newspapers such as Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal and by news services such as Associated Press and ProPublica. Citizen groups from the left and Right excoriate this runaway budget, including the national Taxpayers Union, POGO, and Taxpayers for Common Sense.  To no avail.

Have you heard of the $43 million natural gas station in Afghanistan that was supposed to cost $500,000? Do you know about the $150 million villas that were built for corporate contractors in Afghanistan so they could spend another $600 million advising Afghans about starting private businesses in that war-torn country?

Or how about purchase of billions of dollars of spare parts because the Army or Air Force didn’t know the whereabouts of existing spare parts in forgotten warehouses here and there? What about the $9 billion the Pentagon admitted could not be accounted for in Iraq during the first several months of the invasion?

The list goes on, together with massive cost over-runs by the private contractors that are rewarded with more contracts. Soldiers get dirty drinking water, bad food, inadequate equipment, and security breaches by these contractors. No matter.

Mike McCord, the Pentagon’s chief financial officer, has some startling explanations for why the Department is not ready for an audit. It’s not the Department’s “primary mission,” he says, which is “to defend the nation, fight and win wars.” He continues: “We’re too big to just sort of blow up all our systems and go buy one new, gargantuan IT system that runs the entire Department.”

In the final analysis, the principal culprits, because they have so much to lose in profits and bonuses, are the giant defense companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and others that lobby Congress, Congressional District by Congressional District, for more, more, more military contracts, grants and subsidies. They routinely hire ex-Pentagon specialists and top brass who know how to negotiate the ways and means inside of the government.


Anonymous said...

Leave the Pentagon be.

The lead -poisoned kids of Flint, Michigan and the semi-incarcerated schoolchildren of collapsing Detroit ( trapped in dilapidated pest ridden buildings... ) are grateful that they can look forward to getting poorly paid positions working as uniformed 'grunts' for various Pentagon temp. agencies( Marines, Army, Navy , etc. ) !!

A ticket outta' Michigan , some clothing , semi-regular crummy meals , and maybe a number to stand in line someday at a VA hospital to see a guy about a shrink ... are some of the flickering lights that beckon on their abbreviated event horizon.

We don't need no stinking audits. - John A. Joslin ( Detroit, Michigan, swimming distance from Canada )

Anonymous said...

Come for the articles.

Stay for the Comments.

Anonymous said...

Well, if anyone was wondering, we now have a clear understanding of our national priorities.