The Pentagon Doesn’t Know What It Spent 8.5 Trillion Dollars On

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You talk about a monster that’s gotten too big?!?! Well it’s the U.S. government. How on earth do you spend 8.5 TRILLION DOLLARS and not know where it went? This is a bearucratic mess that is way out of control! And you wonder where your tax dollars go? Well don’t ask cause they don’t know.

By Claire Bernish

When government is completely dysfunctional and seems not to serve the people’s interests, we have to wonder where our tax dollars are going. Thanks to a Reutersinvestigation by Scot Paltrow, we have an answer—or, rather, a non-answer. Apparently, the Pentagon has made use of $8.5 trillion of our tax money handed over by Congress since 1996—but don’t ask what was done with the money. The Department of Defense doesn’t have a clue.

Audits of all federal agencies were mandated by law beginning in 1996, but the Pentagon is unique innever having complied. In almost 20 years, the Pentagon has never accounted for trillions it spent, in part because “plugging”—fudging the numbers—is standard operating procedure.

According to the investigation, employees of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Pentagon’s primary accounting agency, were routinely told by superiors to take “unsubstantiated change actions.” These plugs—which amounted to falsifying the books—were used to bring the military’s figures in line with the Treasury’s when discrepancies couldn’t be traced and accounted for. According to DFAS employee, Linda Woodford, “A lot of times there were issues of numbers being inaccurate. We didn’t have the detail . . . for a lot of it.” This so-called plugging isn’t unique to DFAS—when it comes to resolving lost or missing information, it’s just business as usual in every branch of the service.

But the errors and manipulated numbers, though obviously problems in their own right, simply compound the issue for a Defense Department that seemingly has no control over its excessive spending habits.

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