Trillions of dollars in U.S. Army financial records are “materially misstated” or invented from whole cloth, according to a Department of Defense (DoD)’s Inspector General report from this past June.
In just one 2015 fiscal quarter, $2.8 trillion “wrongful adjustments” were made to create the false appearance of a balanced budget. Such questionable accounting ended up amounting to $6.5 trillion by the end of the year, Reuters reports. A lack of receipts and other documentation was largely the reason for the accounting chicanery, which made senior military and DoD officials unable to make accurate decisions on how to deploy resources commensurate with the budget.
But even with the Inspector General’s report revealing eye-popping levels of fiscal mismanagement, the trillions of dollars in discovered voodoo accounting might actually be understating the problem.
Reuters notes that all the IG’s reports on annual military accounting include a disclaimer because “the basic financial statements may have undetected misstatements that are both material and pervasive.” Reuters also quotes a former Defense Department Inspector General, who referred to the annual practice of disingenuously making the budget appear to be balanced using invented numbers as “the grand plug.”
The Defense Department’s current annual budget continues to creep upwards toward almost $600 billion, and both major party presidential candidates have called for increased military spending, but have made no issue of the problem of wasteful defense spending.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign website promises “the best-trained, best-equipped, and strongest military the world has ever known,” while the totality of Donald Trump’s stated position on military spending is encapsulated in the video below: