Report points to "wide failures" in Pentagon's operations
Shafaq News / In a report published on Thursday, The Intercept revealed "wide failures and loopholes" in the financial and military operations related to the US Department of Defense, the Pentagon.
According to the report, as calls grow in Congress to condition aid to Israel and halt funding to Ukraine altogether, the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General issued a report that details widespread failures in the Pentagon’s operations.
In a semiannual report to Congress, the watchdog found a breakdown in the process to provide care for sexual assault survivors, damaged artillery earmarked for Ukraine, and continued failures to monitor the Defense Department’s single most expensive program, the scandal-ridden F-35 fighter jet. Taken together, the inspector general’s findings paint a picture of a sprawling military-industrial complex that, while providing billions in aid to foreign militaries, has failed to solve long-standing issues that result in extreme levels of taxpayer waste.
“While we constantly hear from DOD officials and politicians backed by major weapons manufacturers that an ever increasing military budget is essential for our national security, the inspector general’s office consistently demonstrates that this is not the case,” Erik Sperling, executive director of the progressive advocacy group Just Foreign Policy told The Intercept. “Whether failing to ensure adequate oversight on the weapons we have spent billions sending to Ukraine, or the failed fighter jets we finance and send to Israel, our increased defense spending comes at a tremendous and wasteful cost to the American taxpayer and to the innocent civilians on the receiving end of our weapons.”
In October, President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve $75 billion in combined security assistance for Israel and Ukraine. The request would add to the $44 billion in security assistance already pledged to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and the tens of billions of dollars in security assistance delivered to Israel over the past five years. Over the summer, Israel finalized a deal to purchase 25 new F-35s, financed with $3 billion in defense aid from the United States.
Just last month, the Department of Defense failed its sixth straight audit, underscoring the lack of oversight of the funds that Congress forks over to the armed forces every year. Among the rationales for its failure, the Pentagon unconvincingly offered that there is “progress sort of beneath the surface of a pass-fail,” and that “we keep getting better and better at it.” The Pentagon has also flubbed its oversight of the money it sends to U.S. allies; in June, the military found that an accounting error overstated the cost of Ukrainian defense aid by $6.2 billion.
In July, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to force the Department of Defense to clean up its act by proposing that any part of the agency that fails to complete a clean audit be forced to return 1 percent of its budget.
“From buying $14,000 toilet seats to losing track of warehouses full of spare parts, the Department of Defense has been plagued by wasteful spending for decades,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wrote in a statement at the time. “Every dollar the Pentagon squanders is a dollar not used to support service members, bolster national security or strengthen military readiness.”
UNDER THE INSPECTOR General Act, agency oversight officials are required to send reports to Congress every year summarizing their activities and findings. The most recent Defense Department report covers the period from April through September and was published on November 30. It includes summaries of investigations, updates on compliance with oversight actions, and unresolved issues still plaguing the department.
It contains over a dozen advisories and evaluations regarding programs supporting the war in Ukraine, many of which remain classified.