While you probably can’t tell your company commander that your issued gear was lost due to “accounting errors,” the United States Army certainly does—to the tune of $6.5 trillion dollars.
The Army fudged accounts by over $2.8 trillion in one quarter of 2015 alone, according to a Department of Defense Inspector General report. The service made improper accounting adjustments to cover up for terrible bookkeeping, which amounted to over $6.5 trillion in made up numbers last year.
The report, which was released in June, concluded that the service made innumerable wrongful adjustments. The Army also falsified accounting entries and could not provide receipts or invoices to support purchases for its trillions in overspent funds.
The “forced” adjustments made the numbers completely useless to anyone trying to find out how the Army spent its money in 2015.
A History of Substandard Accounting Practices
This is hardly the first time such lackluster accounting practices have made the news. The Defense Department came under fire in 2013 after Reuters released a series of articles revealing falsified accounting on a massive scale.
The Army’s General Fund was found to be missing required data, and in many places, data was also inaccurate.
Because the accuracy of all Army annual expense reports is questionable, the Inspector General prints a disclaimer on them, saying that the “basic financial statements may have undetected misstatements that are both material and pervasive.”
The Army’s accounts are important because of the exceptional size of the defense budget. The question of “where does all the money go?” is even more unanswerable when the accounting mistakes and omissions are taken into account.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have called for increased defense spending while on the campaign trail. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, favors reduced military spending.
Military spending accounts for 54 percent of all Federal discretionary spending. Defense spending includes war, nuclear weapons, international military assistance, and more.