Fiscal mess awaits new defense chief: 'Worst-managed' federal agency
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: December 17th, 2006
Robert Gates will face ... the enormous task of cleaning up the Pentagon's tangled finances, which outside auditors lambaste as so chaotic that no one knows how much money is being spent on defense at any given time. The White House's Office of Management and Budget believes the Pentagon's financial management systems are in such a mess "that independent auditors still cannot certify the accuracy of the financial statements." David Walker, the U.S. Comptroller General, issued a devastating assessment of the Pentagon's finances, which include an annual budget of over $500 billion. The Pentagon's financial problems "are pervasive, complex, long-standing and deeply rooted in virtually all business operations throughout the department," Walker told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Financial problems like the Pentagon's "would put any civilian company out of business," said Kwai Chan, a former GAO auditor ... and author of a report entitled "Financial Management in the Department of Defense: No One is Accountable." Winslow Wheeler, a former national security expert for the Senate Budget Committee, called the Defense Department "the worst-managed agency in the federal government, (that) can't account for the half-trillion dollars it spends each year, and seeks to produce weapons that are irrelevant or ineffective, or both."
Note: For major media articles showing that more than $1 trillion of taxpayers money have gone missing at the Pentagon, click here. For the deeper reasons behind this, a top U.S. general's explanation is available here.