My friend Mike Connelly e-mailed me a link to an article on the Antimedia web site pointing out the lack of auditing or spending controls by the Pentagon, along with a helpful graphic showing just how much the Department of Defense has spent since 1996.
The article was based on a three-part series in Reuters news service in 2013 about how nobody knew exactly how much money was being spent or for what, and the general lack of financial control.
As one example, Scot Paltrow quoted Admiral Mark Harnicheck, head of the Defense Logistics Agency, as saying “we have about $14 billion in inventory for various reasons, and probably half of that is in excess of what me need.” Note the “probably.” He didn’t really know
The Reuters articles reminded me of a similar series in the Washington Post in 2010 reporting the same situation in regard to secret intelligence and national security agencies. There, too, nobody knew the extent of what was being done, how much was being spent or whether it was effective.
Claire Bernish, author of the Antimedia article, was rightly concerned about money being wasted being wasted on the military that could be better spent on other national priorities or left in the pockets of American taxpayers.
I have another concern. Just how effective can the U.S. armed forces be if the Secretary of Defense can’t set priorities or know just what the department’s budget is being spent for?