The Pentagon has not fully implemented the advice of its own inspectors and auditors, and could be wasting as much as $33.6 billion.
The Department of Defense has not implemented 1,298 recommendations from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in the department, and 58 of those “have associated potential monetary benefits,” the OIG said in a report released Thursday.
“If the DoD Components implemented all 58 recommendations, DoD could save $33.6 billion,” according to the report, a 450-page compendium of all the OIG’s uncompleted recommendations.
Most of the recommendations are from the last three years, but about 45 are more than five years old, including one “high priority” recommendation from 2009 and two dating back to 2006.
The OIG found in that report that some Pentagon officials in charge of payments “did not charge an appropriation when they obtained operating cash from the U.S. Treasury, as required by regulations,” meaning that sometimes the Pentagon took taxpayer money from the Treasury without linking the payments to a congressionally-approved program.
Another high-priority recommendation from a 2014 questioned whether a $4.3 billion investment in the Army’s accounting software would actually bring the system into compliance with federal law.
One unfinished recommendation from 2016 involves the discovery of “$162 million in potentially improper payments” on vehicle invoices that Pentagon contracting officials certified without “unit prices or the total billable amount.”
Implementing the recommendations “could enable the DoD to reduce costs, realize monetary benefits, and improve performance and efficiency,” the OIG said.
“Timely implementation of agreed-upon corrective actions is critical for DoD Components to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of DoD programs and operations, as well as to achieve integrity and accountability goals, reduce costs, manage risks, realize monetary benefits, and improve management processes,” the OIG report said.
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