The Pentagon cannot account for more than $8 trillion U.S. taxpayers have given it since 1996, according to a report by the Reuters news agency.
Yet even as the Defense Department insists it needs more money to defend the nation, officials admit waste and fraud are rampant.
Just this fall, lawmakers learned they were lied to over the purchase of more than $1 billion worth of helicopters for Afghanistan. Pentagon officials in 2011 assured Congress a study had concluded Russian helicopters would be best for the job, so they were purchased. A few weeks ago it was revealed the report actually recommended Chinook helicopters, made in the U.S.
With knowledge taxpayers have of specific cases of Pentagon misspending, it is highly disturbing to realize there is no way of telling whether hundreds of billions of dollars have been wasted or used fraudulently.
Reuters found that at this very moment, the Pentagon has more than $500 billion in contracts that have not been audited.
Defense Department bureaucrats claim their agency is just too complex to be handled by simple, responsible bookkeeping procedures. That is, quite simply, not true.
Congress should demand the Pentagon account for its spending. Lawmakers should find ways to fire - and possibly prosecute - any top brass refusing to comply.