The Pentagon cannot account for $3.8 trillion dollars worth of military assets according to a new Department of Defense audit – raising alarm bells not just because of the obvious lack of accountability, but because the last time the Pentagon ‘lost’ an enormous sum of money, 9/11 happened.
Donald Rumsfeld was due to testify about a missing $2.3 trillion before Congress on September 13 2001, however the case was put on hold after the events of September 11.
The paper trail was destroyed when one side of the Pentagon was blown up, and the $2.3 trillion dollar case was brushed under the rubble.
The new case of the missing trillions, and the combustible political climate in 2023, has left many commentators fearing that “something big is about to happen again.”
“Auditing the department’s $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities is a massive undertaking,” Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord said. “But the improvements and changes we are making every day as a result of these audits positively affect every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, guardian and DOD civilian.”
Stripes reports: Hundreds of independent auditors examine the Pentagon’s books each year to determine whether it can account for the money it’s given and how effectively the military is spending it. There are three possible audit ratings – an unqualified opinion, a qualified opinion and a disclaimer of opinion.
The consolidated 2023 audit, which is the overall accounting of the Defense Department, gave a disclaimer of opinion, which means the Pentagon couldn’t give auditors enough financial data to allow them to form an opinion. An unqualified, or “clean,” opinion is the highest possible rating and a qualified opinion is an acceptable rating. Both mean that auditors were given enough information to make a complete judgment.
“This was the sixth year of progress toward an unmodified opinion,” the department said in a statement. “Of the 29 component standalone audits, seven received unmodified opinions, one received a qualified opinion and 18 received disclaimers of opinion.”
The Pentagon said the remaining three component opinions are pending. That includes the 2023 audit for the Marine Corps, which was granted an extension until mid-February to furnish more information to auditors.