The Pentagon cannot account for $4.4 trillion dollars according to a new Department of Defense audit – raising alarm bells not just because of the obvious lack of accountability and oversight, but because the last time the Pentagon ‘lost’ an enormous sum of money, 9/11 happened.
Donald Rumsfeld was due to testify about a missing $2.3 trillion before Congress on September 13 2001, however the case was put on hold after the events of September 11.
The paper trail was destroyed when one side of the Pentagon was blown up, and the $2.3 trillion dollar case was brushed under the rubble.
The new case of the missing trillions, and the combustible political climate in 2022, has left many commentators fearing that “something big is about to happen again.”
The Hill reports that after 1,600 auditors combed through DOD’s $3.5 trillion in assets and $3.7 trillion in liabilities, officials found that the department couldn’t account for about 61 percent of its assets, Pentagon Comptroller Mike McCord told reporters on Tuesday.
Federal law since the early 1990s requires mandatory audits for all government agencies, and since fiscal year 2013 all but the DOD have been able to satisfy that requirement.
The sheer size and scope of the department — which makes up for more than half of the U.S. discretionary spending and has assets that range from personnel and supplies to bases and weapons — makes it difficult to audit.
In December 2017, defense officials set out to scrutinize DOD’s books, the first comprehensive audit of the agency in its history. That effort failed the next year, and the four that followed.
The agency had never expected to pass, however, due to accounting issues officials said could take years to fix.
Because accounting records needed to complete the assessment were not available, all five audits received a “disclaimer of opinion,” though there have been improvements each time.