Pentagon Fails Another Audit, Will Likely Get Budget Increase From Congress Anyway

Auditors now say the military may be able to pass an audit before the end of the next decade, so at least that's something.


The third time wasn't the charm for the Pentagon, which has once again failed to successfully complete an audit.

Thomas Harker, the Pentagon's comptroller, told Reuters that it could be another seven years before the department can pass an audit—something that it has never accomplished. Previous attempts in 2018 and 2019 turned up literally thousands of problems with the Pentagon's accounting system and millions of dollars' worth of missing equipment.

In a statement, the Pentagon lauded the fact that auditors had "cleared" more than 500 issues identified in previous audits. That serves as compelling evidence that the effort is worth it, even if a clean review is still impossible. The Pentagon had resisted being audited for years. Though Congress passed a law in 1990 requiring all federal departments to be audited every year, it still took nearly two decades for the first Pentagon audit to be attempted. The department now says it is benefiting from the process.

A full report on this year's audit, which covered more than $2.7 trillion in military assets, is expected to be released in January.

Before that, Congress is likely to sign off on a boost in military spending. As part of a new $1.4 trillion discretionary spending bill expected to be passed during the upcoming lame-duck session, the Pentagon is expected to get about a $10 billion boost in funding. That will happen in spite of another failed audit and regardless of the fact that America's budget deficit has soared to record highs in the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll.

Congress is also expected to sign off on the purchase of dozens of new F-35 fighter jets, despite the fact that last year's Pentagon audit called the entire F-35 program a "material weakness" that was putting taxpayer dollars at risk.

An audit is ultimately only as good as the people who will use it to guide future decisions. Unfortunately, Congress keeps rewarding the Pentagon's fiscal failure with more money.

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  1. Here is the real indicator of fat in the Pentagon budget…they willingly allowed some of their money to be diverted to the fascist Trump’s border wall. They never budgeted for that wall, but they thought some of those other important budgeted items could be forgone for the idiot President.

    1. I wonder if the CDC willingly rerouted any money to pandemics they didn’t budget for this year.


      1. Well let’s see. The CDC specifically budgeted this:

         $730M Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
         $509M Emerging Infectious Diseases

        So about $1.2 B for things that fall under what occurs in a pandemic. You know what’s not in the a pentagon budget specifically? Money for the wall.

        And here’s where phony libertarians…like you…miss the whole point that guys like Ron Paul always understood. We don’t need all that money for weapons, wars and walls…the three w’s. What has the pandemic really underscored as a true threat to the defense of the American people? Health care, as exemplified by 250,000+ Americans dying in the pandemic. That money in the defense budget would be better spent on health care than another aircraft carrier. Of course Ron would take issue on spending it there, but even he’d probably agree it’s better spent on health care than wars and weapons.


        But have a great day!


        1. So you’re saying they routed that money from work on other infectious diseases? Oh well. I guess theirs is a glorious sacrifice. Right, comrade?

          And CDC has spent more than 1.2B on this.

          1. It’s OK, really. I suspect the money was taken from the study of gun control as a public health issue.

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        2. It’s a pandemic. People were going to die regardless. You can no more stop pandemics from happening than stop volcanoes from erupting.

          Remember those ‘flatten the curve’ graphs? The area under them was the same – they were about delaying deaths, not preventing them.

    2. “they willingly allowed some of their money to be diverted to the fascist Trump’s border wall”

      Border enforcement beats the fuck out of the Pentagon’s real business of new wars.

      But don’t worry, Buttplug. If Harris gets her prize, you can enjoy as many wars as your little neocon heart could hope for.

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    4. Remind me again who is the Commander-in-Chief? Oh, yeah, it’s the President.

      No matter what you think of Trump or his border wall, the people at the Pentagon had no authority to refuse that order.

  2. Who cares? It’s not like the taxpayers are going to miss that money. Be like the Republicans and just spend, spend, spend! Deficits don’t matter!

    1. They’ll need to save a little to enjoy the war on Irian Jaya and whatever else that the Democrats have cooking.

  3. Hopefully with a bigger audit budget. That way they can audit even harder next time.

  4. “An audit is ultimately only as good as the people who will use it to guide future decisions.”

    Now do election audits

    1. Why election audits. You can spot check enough places that your have confidence that any margin or error (or if you prefer, ‘fraud’) is far less than the margin of victory.
      Of course if you have $7.8 million lying around you can go fund the recount in Wisconsin.

      1. So, no to election audits. Got it. Those are unimportant clearly.

      2. So you’re saying every vote doesn’t count?

        1. Well, some get counted twice, so it is probably OK.

      3. Error, fraud. Whatever as long as the guilty end up in jail with other “error” committing people, like the mostly peaceful property destructors.

        1. And if you think the only consideration is winning, then its obvious whose side you take

  5. Roll some heads and they’ll pass an audit.

    1. Depends on what you mean by “pass”. They’re never going to account for every dollar they spend because they spend a lot of money on things they’re not going to admit to doing publicly.

      There are all kinds of unacknowledged programs at the Pentagon that need funding, that’s why they buy “$500 hammers”. If you ask them where that particular hammer is they aren’t going to be able to produce it because there was never a hammer to begin with.

      1. When you buy something special, you still have to describe it. “hammer’ is essentially a generic tool. The purchasing agent, who is handling 1000s of purchases, might ask for clarification. Conversation go like this:
        “What is this thing your trying to buy?”
        “Well, its the part that knocks back the flux capacitory.”
        “You mean like a hammer?”
        “Yeah, sorta like a hammer”

        Note, sometimes a hammer is a hammer. For programs like SR71 and other aircraft, some tools must be made out of titanium etc. You go up to a manufacturer and ask for titanium hammer, they say “Sure, we can do that, how many do you want?” “100” “100,000? not a problem”…. “No, 100!” “Well, your gonna have to pay tooling costs etc.” DOD, expresses costs as in the total cost it took to get something. All R&D and everything combined.

        1. I worked at at dealership going through college and it always amazed me what the manufacturer charged for the special tools needed for individual models. A chunk of steel that looked like a broken wrench for $800 etc.

  6. Clearly we should focus on this and not the ever increasing welfare state. So liberaltarians ever deviate from the script?

    1. The welfare state probably makes the US a more attractive destination for immigrants. And since Koch / Reason libertarians prioritize #ImmigrationAboveAll, scaling back the welfare state would be counterproductive.

      (Of course, we are still adamantly opposed to raising the minimum wage.)

    2. “My bitch ass wife is all mad that I spent $500 on a sweet samurai sword, when she spent $500 just last month on groceries! Not fair!”

      1. And at which club was Miss Sweet Samurai Sword dancing?

  7. “Unfortunately, Congress keeps rewarding the Pentagon’s fiscal failure with more money.”

    As a left-libertarian, I’d ordinarily be open to the suggestion that we should cut the Pentagon’s budget.

    But these are not ordinary times. Russia attacked us in 2016, hacking our election to install a 3 decade Russian intelligence asset as President. Once we’ve finally removed this puppet regime, President Biden will need a strong military in order to confront Putin. Therefore anyone calling for a Pentagon budget cut is effectively taking Russia’s side.


    1. So you’re in favor of provoking Russia with a hostile, militaristic response rather than a calm and rational response of opening a bilateral conversation aimed at defusing the situation? Warmonger.

  8. Here’s my story. – Not military but NASA auditing.

    In 1995ish I was assigned a computer by NASA to do my work. 1997 or so I switched to a different company, still contracting at NASA. I was then informed that none of my paperwork to get on base will be approved because of missing equipment. What equipment? Well back in 1993, when they bought the computer, they had also bought a dot matrix printer, for $850 – value at the time about $5. I told them that not only don’t I know where that printer is, but I’ve never seen it. Too bad for me. So, I told them I will fill out a claim form that the item was stolen. Oh shit, can’t do that, stealing $850 worth (hah!) of equipment requires an FBI investigation. Instead they suggested I get the director of the NASA facility to sign off on it – but cautioned me that its going to be tough. Well, I got on base with a temporary pass, went to the director’s office and apparently there was a stack of similar sign-off requests. Basically he signed off on it, no fuss.
    1999, I got an e-mail saying they found the printer when they were clearing out a storage closet and they were auctioning it off (as they do with all ‘excess’ equipment). I had only rarely been in that building were they found the printer, and since I never layed hands on it.
    Keep in mind that auditors don’t have “need to know” so they can’t even go into some areas (security clearance).
    Also, the rules get weird with some stuff. At a military facility a friend procured a can of paint. When done with it (painted a electronics cabinet) he threw out the can. Apparently the can was valued at over $200 and you cannot just throw that out, you must return it???

    1. Here’s a story I heard from someone who witnessed it repeatedly, first hand. His projects needed a custom program which cost about $20K. Every time one project was finished, they uninstalled it from his computer, threw the install media away (probably shredded / burned it / something), bought a new copy at $20K, and re-installed the very same program so he could work on the new project.

      I know about shrink wrap licenses which forbid installing one program on multiple computers, even if the new computer is an upgrade and the old computer is going to a closet or eWaste. But he used the same computer for years.

      Thing is, just like other military projects, and just like all products in general, the R&D has to be spread over some number of products sold; if that custom program had been bid as running on, say, 100 computers, you’d spread the R&D over those 100 computers. If it was bid to be used by 100 projects, it would be spread over those 100 projects, and even if one person did all 100 projects, it still costs $20K per project, and the weird uninstall / reinstall process is precisely for audit purposes.

      That’s another part of how you get $500 hammers.

    2. The first thing I was struck by when I landed in Baghdad air base was the absolutely massive waste that was visible in any direction you looked. There was a gigantic field of military vehicles in various states of disrepair, that had clearly been there a while. Perhaps billions of dollars of up-armored and expensive military hardware, all current generation stuff, left to rust for want of a part, or want of a technician, or just easier to waste something than to fix it.

      1. I’ve done several training ops around the world. In every op we had delivered 20ft ISO full of bottled water.

        When we finished we left the excess water and the ISO’s in place for whoever wanted to come get them.

    3. And not to mention “spend-ex” ranges where we shoot or blow up the entire remaining allotment of ammo for the year. Can’t risk the planners reducing our allotment as punishment for not using all of it in the previous year.

  9. Before the end of the *next* decade?

    1. The first decade was 1-10. Second was 11-20. I’m sure you can see how that is relevant.

  10. I must say I’m somewhat skeptical of the idea of a yearly audit of the Pentagon – how long does it take to audit the Pentagon, about 2 years?

  11. No matter what happens in the world Pentagon will always have its budget increased. That’s just how our Government is working. And personally I think it’s the right way to do things because that’s how we can insure that our county stays strong! And in case something go south you always will have your trusted rifle and app backing you up

  12. Good Lord!
    People go on and on about military spending like it was assigned to
    the federal government in the constitution or something!
    It’s not like funding abortions or sex change operations for children or anything.

    1. Yes, but killing babies and castrating children to sate mom’s Munchausen by proxy, is more compassionate and tolerant than droning a Afghani wedding.
      They provide better opportunities to signal to your social class.

  13. clear is pandemic so must be mention budget as well

  14. MIC are biggest thieves in government

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