Dozens of witnesses, among whom there are both former and current Pentagon employees, point to the facts of numerous violations. In particular, the agency cites the words of the former employee of the Ministry of Finance and Accounting Ministry Linda Woodford. According to her, army accountants regularly had to deliberately enter counterfeit accounts in the financial statements sent to the treasury. In this case, the woman has no doubt that these "inconsistencies" in military reports did not appear for no reason - huge sums of money now and then disappeared in an unknown direction. Trying to understand the situation, the accounting department every time frantically rang round the military units about dubious accounts. Nevertheless, a significant part of the costs remained unconfirmed. At the same time, accountants now and then turned a blind eye to it and, trying to reduce the balance, they entered in the statements the so-called “gags” - fake accounts for certain services and goods.
The existence of such methods to the agency was confirmed by other witnesses working in different departments and parts of the Pentagon. Journalists cite the words of a certain Jeff Yokel, who worked in the financial and accounting service of the Pentagon for 17 years. He admitted that every month thousands of non-existent accounts had to be written into the accounting papers, thereby covering the loss of incredible amounts of money and pieces of equipment and ammunition.
According to experts, the corruption losses from these criminal schemes are estimated at billions of dollars. In particular, Reuters cites data from the Pentagon’s inspector general. According to his information during the audit, it was not possible to establish the location of various assets, which from 2003 to 2011 distributed over the existing and reserve parts, amounting to almost $ 6 billion.
Recall that the US military is by far the largest recipient of funds, which accounts for almost half of all US budget expenditures. This year alone, Americans spent 633 billion dollars for military needs, which is about 40% of world spending in this area.
However, as Reuters notes, despite the immense scale of financial “injections”, the Pentagon remains the only government agency that does not undergo an annual state audit of its spending. About his need now and then say one or other members of the US Congress. In May, then Secretary of Defense Robert Gates even spoke about the problem 2011. “I was surprised to learn that it’s almost impossible to get accurate information and answers to questions such as“ How much money do you spend? ”And“ How many people do you have? ”. It would seem that the existence of the problem is recognized at the very top, but nevertheless there is no progress in this topic.
“Corruption in the Pentagon is a fact,” commented military expert, retired colonel Viktor Baranets. “I don’t remember a year when the control bodies or the Congress would not expose fraudsters in Pentagon structures.”
Officially, the Pentagon blames everything on the technical impossibility of cost accounting. According to military officials, the cumbersome financial system of the department is simply not ready for audits. They say that different units of the armed forces and ministries compile financial reports on outdated and incompatible computer systems, many of which use the programming languages of the 1970-s. It is reported that at the moment there are thousands of ways of accounting. However, as Reuters sources note, no one has yet named their exact number. It is known that the department has repeatedly tried to systematize the methods of evaluation and accounting. According to Reuters, tens of billions of dollars were spent on this. “But at the same time, many of these systems are not able to perform all the tasks,” the article notes.
Some lawmakers are starting to lose patience. Senators Tom Coburn (Republican of Oklahoma) and Joe Manchin (Democrat of West Virginia) presented a bill restricting funding for new programs and imposing a ban on the purchase of new information technologies in the event that the Pentagon is not ready for an audit by 2017 year. It will also prevent the Pentagon from acquiring new information technologies that require more than three years to be implemented.
Formally, the question seems to be solved. According to the current plans, the Ministry of Defense should bring its management and financial structures in line with the requirements set during the audit, no later than 2017. Although a number of experts say that, if desired, this can be done faster.
The Pentagon has repeatedly been criticized for incomprehensible and unreasonable squandering. For example, two years ago, Pentagon deputy head Clifford Stanley resigned due to 400 embezzlement. According to the investigation, he spent these funds on the equipment of the meeting room in his office, about which eyewitnesses called it “excessively expensive”. In addition, there are regular reports in the American press that during a given operation - be it Iraq or Afghanistan - millions of budget dollars are deposited in the pockets of high-ranking officers and stakeholders.
A lot of controversy arises around the feasibility of such hostilities. Already, most experts agree that the operation in Afghanistan has completely failed, which means that the money allocated for it has actually been wasted.
“The cost of this war has exceeded 800 billion dollars,” says military expert Viktor Baranets. - What do we have at the exit? We have the same ruined country and the shameful exit of Americans from Afghanistan. This adventure is a great strategic miscalculation by the US government and the Pentagon. Taxpayers' money, in fact, turned out to be buried in the sand. ”