The Pentagon Failed Its First Audit – Can It Fix Its Misspending Problem?

Following news a couple years ago that the Pentagon had wasted $125 billion, the Pentagon finally underwent its first legitimate audit in its history, and the results showed rampant misspending and errors, though precise figures have not been released to the public at this time.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said, “We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it.” Well, that’s one way to try to hedge the bad news. If they expected to fail, why wasn’t such an audit conducted at any point previously in the DoD’s 71-year history? Literally every other federal agency is subject to such oversight.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress no more defense budget increases!

Admittedly, it’s been a massive undertaking. Shanahan explained how auditing a $2.7 trillion organization required 1,200 auditors visiting over 600 locations to the tune of more than $550 million. The scale of the audit may have made it difficult, but that’s all the more reason to check up on the department the federal government allocates the most money to on an annual basis.

According to the Pentagon, the audit turned up no examples of fraud. However, the DoD does need to be better at accurately keeping tabs at its existing inventory, meeting cybersecurity standards and fixing the unspecified “accounting gaps” that exist throughout the Department.

Moreover, specific segments of the military like the Navy, the Army, the Marines, the Air Force, Special Ops and more were all given multiple issues that they need to fix. Shananan was candid about the fact that a lot of the identified problems will probably take years to sort out, but the goal is to trigger fewer issues the next time an audit is assessed.

Again, the Pentagon is not commenting on how much wasted money it has identified, although it has acknowledged the $550 million+ audit will more than pay for itself, which at least gives a sense of the misspending at play.

Congress may have finally set this long overdue audit in motion, yet it still bears a lot of the responsibility for the Department of Defense’s money mismanagement in that year after year it rubber stamps increases to the already bloated defense budget with no accountability.

Polls routinely show that American citizens would like to see less money spent on the defense budget, but Congress keeps going in the other direction. The mentality that the money goes toward supporting “the troops” is bogus – the majority of our military spending goes right in the pockets of corporations, which is probably why our pro-corporate legislators are so keen to continually throw more money in this direction.

Take Action

Per the Defense Department, it agreed to the audit in the first place in an effort to secure more funding for the military in the future. On the contrary, this audit should serve as a reason to lower the budget. That’s why we’re signing this Care2 petition encouraging Congress to make the Pentagon prove it can properly manage the excessive money it already has before any more increases are offered.


Marie W
Marie W8 days ago


Jetana A
Jetana A7 months ago

I'd like to see a drastic reduction in the Pentagon's budget! Happy to sign the petition even if it doesn't go far enough.

Brian F
Brian F7 months ago

It was the Democrats with the Republicans who pushed for war in Syria, and Trump who was against the war in Syria. So this crook Trump was elected partly because he was against the war in Syria. We need to get out of Afghanistan and Syria, and yet most Democrats and the Republicans still support those wars. So both parties are extremely corrupt and responsible for our bloated military spending. The Democrats voted to give this crook Trump his 700 billion dollar military budget, so behind the scenes, the Democrats are corrupt like the Republicans.

Debbi W
Debbi W7 months ago

Awwww, another part of the a$$ hat's plan to destabilize our government. He tried to inflate his demented image by pour money into the military. He slams, insults and tries to shame them, all for HIS image. Call your congressmen/women, demand an accounting. There should be one done for each dept under his cabinet members. If they have wasted money, the cabinet members should be billed for that money, and possibly bill the president by extension, since he appointed those cabinet members.

Mary B
Mary B7 months ago

It seems over whelming but it can be done. We now have technology that we didn't have even 40 years ago, let along 70. Start by a pay freeze for the top brass and keep it in place until this is all sorted out. Might encourage some co-operation. This is really inexcusable. No military parades , Cut the fat . No more budget expansion And stop the damn sonar testing that's messing up the whales and dolphins.

Shirley S
Shirley S7 months ago

Complete incompetence !

Alea C
Alea C7 months ago

The American attitude has always been "if you can get away with stealing from the government, do it". The Pentagon just takes that attitude to a higher plane.

Ruth G
Ruth G7 months ago

funny ,if Joe public misspends , they are in real trouble! when govts do it ,they get away with it & are protected

Wesley S
Wesley Struebing7 months ago

Bill E is right. Quite often the top brass have pushed back on some fly-by-night new whiz-bang system, saying in no uyncertain terms that it is unneccessary and they don't want it - and Congress (usually to keep the Federal Contracts flowing in their state) votes to fund it, anyway.

Wesley S
Wesley Struebing7 months ago

Short answer - no, it can't. Long answer - no, and it is not even really trying.