The Inspector General of the Department of Defense released a nearly 500-page report last week that showed how DoD responded to 288 audits by the Inspector General going back to 2006. The report showed that DoD failed to address the great majority of the problems, thus costing US taxpayers $33.6 billion in wasteful spending.
One instance that proved to be the costliest noted by the report was the purchase by the Marine Corps of the CH-53K helicopter. USMC bought 44 more helicopters than needed in 2013, according to the IG, and cost taxpayers an additional $22.2 billion. The program with the second-highest amount of waste was the Air Force's purchase of $8.8 billion of MQ-9 Reaper drones. According to the IG, it was a waste because the Air Force had spent the same amount in previous years.
The report made few suggestions about saving money in the future if recommendations are followed. Reports about Cyber Command and the F-35 fighter-bomber program, were classified and deleted from the publicly available report.
If DoD follows 58 of the IG’s suggestions, there could still be what the report called “associated potential monetary benefits.” However, the moment has passed for a number of those opportunities. “We believe that [the Department of Defense] senior managers should focus attention on the 1,298 open recommendations and ensure that prompt resolution and action is taken,” the report said.
According to Acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, DoD “agreed to take corrective action on 1,251” of the recommendations.
By the end of March, 832 cost-saving recommendations had been pending for more than a year, while 109 had been ignored for more than three years and two had gathered languished for more than a decade.
Another problem singled out by the IG is how DoD’s health insurance, Tricare, is managed outside of the US. A 2014 audit found that Tricare pays overseas contractors whatever it is billed instead of negotiating rates. This mean that $21.1 million in 2009 payments rose to $63.8 million in 2013.
Of the all the armed branches: the Army maintains 274 open recommendations; the Air Force hasn’t addressed 166 recommendations; and the Navy carries the fewest at 148.