If you thought your great aunt Edna was bad, you should meet the super-hoarders at the Pentagon. A new Reuters investigation reveals that various defence agencies can’t stop buying stuff they already have. Like, many, many billions of dollars’ worth of stuff.
The Defence Logistics Agency is a primary culprit, and they know it. “We have about $US14 billion of inventory for lots of reasons, and probably half of that is excess to what we need,” Navy Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek, the DLA’s director, admitted to aviation industry executives in August. Reuters also uncovered a document showing that the Pentagon ordered $US733 million worth of equipment that it already had in excess. Harnitchek adds that, while they do have a “Clean Out the Attic” program in place, it’s all but impossible to execute: the DLA doesn’t even know what it has in its inventory and so it can’t make an informed decision about what to get rid of.
If this sort of thing irks you, you should think twice about reading the Reuters investigation in full. All things told, the Pentagon’s received $US8.5 trillion from US Congress that’s never been accounted for, because the Pentagon hasn’t undergone any audits. And it looks very likely that a lot of this money was wasted. One report showed that, between 2003 and 2011 alone, the US Army straight up lost $US5.8 billion in supplies. That’s roughly equivalent to the GDP of Monaco. [Reuters]