Pentagon Can’t Account for $220 Billion of Gear Given to Contractors
Auditors say the Pentagon cannot account for $220 billion worth of government-owned gear provided to military contractors—and the actual total is likely much higher.
In a report released Tuesday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) slammed the Pentagon’s handling of so-called “government-furnished property” (GFP) that has been passed off to contractors with little oversight. The GAO notes that auditors have asked for decades that the Pentagon develop a plan to account for that gear and equipment—which can include “ammunition, missiles, torpedoes,” and component parts for those items—to little avail. In 2001, the Pentagon said it would address the issue by 2005. In 2020, it said the process would be complete by 2026.
Perhaps someday we’ll know how much taxpayer-funded military gear has been handed out to contractors. For now, the GAO notes that the $220 billion estimate is “likely significantly understated.” That figure is based on a 2014 report, but in 2016 the Army told auditors that the actual figure is “unknown and that actual quantities may be greatly different than the Army’s documented property records reflect.”
The Pentagon failed a fifth consecutive audit in November, when it could only account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets. Nevertheless, the military received $858 billion—a 10 percent budget increase—in the omnibus bill passed late last year.
The amount of taxpayer-funded military gear that’s been handed out to contractors is a relatively small sum compared to the Pentagon’s astronomical budget and gordian accounting issues. Even so, it serves as an illustrative example of the broader accountability problems within the most expensive portion of the federal discretionary budget.
“DOD’s lack of accountability over government property
Article from Reason.com