Bad Accounting Practices May be Standard Procedure at the Pentagon

Defense Department file photo

The Pentagon routinely uses faulty accounting methods in order to balance its books with the U.S. Treasury's, according to a new report from Reuters. The practice, which apparently has been standard procedure for decades, effectively conceals billions of dollars in waste and fraud from prying American eyes.

Reporter Scot J. Paltrow writes that the bad bookkeeping is a symptom of a larger plague of the U.S. military's operations, a "chronic failure to keep track of its money - how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is wasted or stolen." The report comes as debate continues over whether the Department of Defense's budget can possibly be cut further, after already taking hits through sequestration. Earlier this month, Marine Commandant James Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee that any further cuts to the Defense budget will cause the armed forces to "end up with more casualties." 

The Defense Department's budget for 2013, after the sequester, is $565.8 billion. Reuters reported that it is "impossible" to know how much of that is spent as appropriated. The problem of Pentagon waste has not gone unnoticed -- it's almost legendary among Big Government foes -- but it's extremely difficult to account for. That's because the Pentagon has never been audited, despite a law that has required an annual audit from every federal department since 1996. Since that date, taxpayers have given the department $8.5 trillion.

Read more on The Atlantic Wire

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