On Tuesday, a watchdog report claimed that the Department of Defense (DOD) has still been unable to account for at least $220 billion worth of equipment that had been given to government contractors.
According to the Daily Caller, the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that auditors first noticed the Pentagon’s failure to keep track of such contractor-loaned equipment back in 2001. The report says that the DOD has not made any improvements to its accountability processes since then, which heightens the possibility of overlooking similar errors in the future.
“This long-standing issue affects the accounting and reporting of GFP and is one of the reasons DOD is unable to produce auditable financial statements,” the GAO report read in part.
The GAO went on to say that when it comes to attempting to identify the causes of such financial deficiencies, the DOD should create an entirely separate plan to address this issue, since “department-wide efforts have not been comprehensive and sufficiently detailed.”
“Without such a strategy, DOD is at an increased risk that its efforts to remediate the [government furnished property] material weakness will continue to be insufficient and that it will continue to miss or push back target remediation dates,” the report continued.
Even more alarming is the likelihood that the given total of $220 billion in unaccounted property may be lower than the actual amount. The GAO noted in its report that there had been past instances of the military admitting that it could not provide an estimate; in 2016, the Army told the GAO that it had an “unknown” number of assets, and that “quantities may be greatly different than the Army’s documented property records reflect.”
Since the DOD had its first audit in 2018, it failed its fifth consecutive audit in November of last year. Of the Pentagon’s roughly $3.5 trillion in assets, contractors were unable to provide expenditures for about 61 percent of the money spent.
“I would not say that we flunked,” said Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord in response to the abysmal report. “The process is important for us to do, and it is making us get better. It is not making us get better as fast as we want.”