Failing It’s 6th Consecutive Audit, the Pentagon Proves Accountability and Transparency Are Mere Taglines

pentagon audit
David B. Gleason from Chicago, IL, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

For all its flaws, the Department of Defense has one thing going for it: predictability. You can always count on the DOD to fail miserably in their bookkeeping efforts year after year with little to no accountability.

This year is the same, with the Pentagon failing its sixth consecutive audit. Not only did they fail the audit, they had no marked improvement from the last failed audit.

Naturally, no one has been fired or resigned from this continued failure to account for trillions in taxpayer dollars, just the usual statements about “incremental progress,” “complexity of the agency,” and general “Gosh guys, we’ll try better next time” mentality. At this point, it’s time to ask, what is the point anymore of this charade?

Just pitiful

Just like last year and the year before that and the year before that, the Pentagon failed its audit. It’s important to note that they have yet to pass their audit.

Even more embarrassing, they not only failed this year but also got the same results as last year, with only one of four of the Pentagon’s auditing units passing. Broken down even further, out of the 29 sub-audits, only seven passed…again…same as last year.

The auditors found that half of the Department of Defense’s assets can’t be accounted for. The DOD should have $3.8 trillion plus $4 trillion in liabilities in their charge.

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Think of this for a spell – half of the almost $8 trillion of assets, the Pentagon can’t find or account for. That’s nearly $4 trillion of American taxpayer dollars just *poof* gone into the ether that is defense financial management and accounting. 

What if a small business owner couldn’t account for half of their assets come tax audit time? They’d at least have a fine, probably lose their business, and could even face some jail time.

Not the big wigs in the five-sided building; they get to shrug it off and claim to try better next time.

And of course, their $800+ billion budget will continue to grow

Empty outrage

Just as has been done year after year, this predictable failed audit was met with condemnation from both sides of the political aisle. Republican Senator Rand Paul, who is always quick to criticize the war machine, wrote:

“The recent failure of the Pentagon’s 6th audit couldn’t make it clearer that we need accountability & transparency. No institution is above scrutiny, especially the DOD with the largest budget of ANY federal agency.”

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Scrutiny the DOD gets, it’s the accountability that is lacking because no one seems capable or willing to enforce any.

Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee said:

“Time to stop misdirecting hundreds of billions of dollars away from domestic and human needs to pad unnecessary budget lines for endless wars, failed weapons, & the Pentagon’s corporate handouts.”

Oh honey, it’s long past time to have done any of that. Instead, it’s just too easy to capitulate to whatever trumped-up conflict on some foreign land is hailed as a critical issue of national security, prompting the approval of continued record levels of funding for the military-industrial complex.

Cut the act

Auditing the Department of Defense is an exercise in futility. It costs the American taxpayers $428 million to conduct the audit in the first place and an additional $472 million to fix the problems the auditors uncover.

Essentially, more of your hard-earned money goes into a process that will inevitably come out with an unclean audit of a system that receives record amounts of your taxpayer dollars. The cherry on top is that even more of your money gets flushed into allegedly “fixing” the problems found.

Yet, each year, no real fixes are accomplished. Suppose that sounds like a racket to you; it should because it is.

The politicians who claim year after year that this time they will do something about it continue to bend the knee to the defense contractors, defense lobbyists, and military brass vying for top board positions in those organizations.

Just take a look at the stock trading that happens within Congress and the flip in wartime rhetoric. War is good for business for the defense machine, the contractors and lobbyists who profit off of it, and the legislators who get reelected off of it. 

The DOD failed again, and just as usual, nobody cares. 

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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