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Wed Jan 22, 2020, 08:50 AM

Pentagon Racks Up $35 Trillion in Accounting Changes in One Year

Source: SFGate / San Francisco Chronicle

The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone -- a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy and underscores the Defense Department's continuing difficulty in balancing its books.

The latest estimate is up from $30.7 trillion in 2018 and $29 trillion in 2017, the first year adjustments were tracked in a concerted way, according to Pentagon figures and a lawmaker who's pursued the accounting morass.

Read more: https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Pentagon-racks-up-35-trillion-in-accounting-14994485.php



It is time to replace the management of the Pentagon.

larger than the entire U.S. economy

14 replies, 1745 views

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 08:56 AM

1. I think we can safely say that we, the American people,

would very much benefit from a complete management change at the Pentagon, getting rid of the revolving door for military officers retiring into cushy DoD jobs and getting government welfare. And I think we could safely cut the 'defense' budget back to 1999 levels.

Oh, and I've NEVER, EVER understood why we needed a Department of Homeland Security when we already have the CIA, the FBI, and the ATF. That just does not, and has never made sense. Basically just pouring tax money that could be used for healthcare down a rathole.

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 09:27 AM

3. This from cons constantly talking about shrinking the gub'ment.

And don't forget million $ pensions for generals.

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Response to PatrickforO (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 10:28 AM

6. Believe it was set up to put all those groups together so they'd communicate with each other

That's what I recall hearing

Supposedly 9/11 happened because each group had some info it was going to happen, but they didn't share

I've read they're still slow to share info, so it doesn't seem to be working very well

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Response to bobbieinok (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 12:59 PM

9. Yes DHS was supposed to be about eliminating 'stovepipes'

Of course we all know that what one intends at the outset is very different later on down the road. DHS is no different. What it was supposed to be, and what it is now, 20 years later, are two very different things.

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 09:00 AM

2. Economy folks . .

plus businesses are leaving the USA and laying off workers . .

Businesses are closing in record number and laying off workers . . .

Republicans are not telling the truth about the economy. I know my family and friends are feeling the downfall right now.

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 09:31 AM

4. What is an "accounting adjustment"?

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Response to mahannah (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 01:01 PM

10. Its a "oops we screwed up" thing.

They are basically saying they spent more money than they said earlier. That they have no idea what's going on with the money they have, where it came from, where it went, and who has it now.

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Response to mahannah (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 06:41 PM

11. Depends.

It could be that they posted $5 million to an account with a budget number, then had to change the budget number. Perhaps an account split, perhaps it was the wrong number. Perhaps it wasn't needed where it was originally allocated and was repurposed. Maybe it was put in an suspense account and later moved to be disbursed.

Or perhaps there are different parts of the accounting system. $3 billion for supplies for enlisted personnel on one budget system, but then when it's actually divided up into smaller categories (housing, food, training, whatever), it's in a different system. You get $3 billion deducted and $3 billion added elsewhere, and there's $6 billion in adjustment.

Or perhaps there's an installation on Guam that has Air Force, Navy, and Army personnel. But it's managed as a single command, each force contributing $25 million. Each expenses $25 million, the command gets $75 million, and there's another $150 million in adjustments.

The non-profit I worked at had accounting software. If we cancelled a check or somebody reimbursed the organization, we'd "back out the expense". There'd be a negative expense instead of a credit. It kept actual income and expenses clear with minimal adjustment, and in an organization that carefully monitored its cash flow that was a good thing. During our annual board audit the CPA always commented that the practice looked bad, and eventually we switched over. (And immediately somebody caught in the financial reports that we adjusted our income, with accusations that we were simply not really accounting for our income correctly.)

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 09:35 AM

5. The thing to understand is DoD only spends the $s it is

appropriated. Once the $s are in DoD's hands and distributed out to the various services, the accounting becomes more like a shell game with "money" moving to and from thousands of different accounting codes. Rest assured DoD's accounting system is unlike anything you have or will ever see.

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 11:04 AM

7. Stop reading this and get back to work!

What a racket. JFC!

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 11:27 AM

8. What's a few trillion here and there?

I think about where that money is badly needed elsewhere, and shudder.

This government is spending money like--I still have checks, how can I be broke?

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Response to Bayard (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 06:42 PM

12. the article makes it clear it's not actual money.

These are changes on the books, not checks.

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 06:56 PM

13. How are we going to pay for it!!!!!

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Response to Dorn (Original post)

Wed Jan 22, 2020, 07:16 PM

14. Pretty good article: book keeping vs actual money.

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