Wanted: Pentagon bookkeepers

U.S. Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: The Senate will debate the defense authorization bill this week. Funding levels for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will take the headlines, but the bill also gives the Pentagon nearly a half-trillion dollars for things other than these wars. And as Marketplace's Steve Henn reports, Pentagon auditors are having trouble keeping track.


Steve Henn: The Government Accountability Office say the Pentagon's books are a mess. It found the Department couldn't ensure basic accountability or detect fraud and abuse.

Danielle Brian runs the Project on Government Oversight. She says for years, auditors haven't gotten enough support.

Danielle Brian: It is nearly impossible for the Pentagon's auditors. They are beleaguered, continually their staffs are cut.

Accountants at the DoD have lost tens of billions of dollars in recent years. This was Donald Rumsfeld describing financial management there on Sept. 10, 2001:

Donald Rumsfeld: According to some estimates, we can not track $2.3 trillion in transactions.

But Rumsfeld's mission to clean up the Penatgon's books was sidetracked the very next day.

Now, six years later, Pentagon spending has more than doubled -- and the DoD's books are still a mess.

In Washington, I'm Steve Henn for Marketplace.

About the author

Steve Henn was Marketplace’s technology and innovation reporter for the entire portfolio of Marketplace programs until December 2011.

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