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 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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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
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks loses composure when pressed about government fraud, waste, and abuse pic.twitter.com/SBajxUOJpH
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) April 9, 2023
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:
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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.
The Pentagon has failed its sixth straight audit.
$3.8 trillion vanished into thin air.
Any other organization would face consequences.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 16, 2023
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.