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. The figure dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest U.S. budget...
Department of Defense
One of the Pentagon’s most secretive agencies, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is developing “custom software that can unearth fakes hidden among more than 500,000 stories, photos, video and audio clips.” Once upon a time, when progressives still reflexively distrusted the military, DARPA was a liberal punchline, known for helping invent the Internet but also for developing lunatic privacy-invading projects like LifeLog, a program to “gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees, or does.”
U.S. defense spending is out of control, severely undermining our ability to tackle climate change, infrastructure needs, health care, and other national challenges. The mainstream media, particularly the New York Times and Washington Post, contribute to the problem of defense spending by understating the cost of defense. Journalists and pundits regularly refer to U.S. defense spending as greater than the next seven or eight countries. Nonsense! U.S. defense spending when correctly tabulated exceeds the defense spending of the rest of the global community.
Scientists and security analysts have warned for more than a decade that global warming is a potential national security concern. They project that the consequences of global warming – rising seas, powerful storms, famine and diminished access to fresh water – may make regions of the world politically unstable and prompt mass migration and refugee crises. Some worry that wars may follow. Yet with few exceptions, the U.S. military’s significant contribution to climate change has received little attention.
Retired Gen. James Mattis earned the nickname “Mad Dog” for leading U.S. Marines into battle in Fallujah, Iraq, in April 2004. In that assault, members of the Marine Corps, under Mattis’ command, shot at ambulances and aid workers. They cordoned off the city, preventing civilians from escaping. They posed for trophy photos with the people they killed. Each of these offenses has put other military commanders and members of the rank and file in front of international war crimes tribunals. The doctrine that landed them there dates back to World War II, when an American military tribunal held Japanese Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita accountable for war crimes in the Philippines. His execution later was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Results of the inspection - conducted by some 1,200 auditors and examining financial accounting on a wide range of spending including on weapons systems, military personnel and property - were expected to be completed later in the day. “We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding that the findings showed the need for greater discipline in financial matters within the Pentagon. “It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization...
Given his erratic behavior, from daily Twitter eruptions to upping his tally of lies by the hour, it’s hard to think of Donald Trump as a man with a plan. But in at least one area -- reshaping the economy to serve the needs of the military-industrial complex -- he's (gasp!) a socialist in the making. His plan is now visibly taking shape -- one we can see and assess thanks to a Pentagon-led study with a distinctly tongue-twisting title: “Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States.” The analysis is the brainchild of Trump’s adviser for trade and manufacturing policy, Peter Navarro, who happens to also be the key architect of the president’s trade wars.
A rock seawall protecting the Air Force's Cape Lisburne Long Range Radar Station on the North East Alaska coast is under increasing duress from extreme weather patterns affecting Arctic sea ice—nearly $50 million has been spent replacing vulnerable parts of the wall already. In 2013, a late summer monsoon rainstorm struck Fort Irwin, in California, flooding more than 160 buildings and causing extensive damage that took weeks to clean up. Some buildings were out of commission for months. The 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in Colorado's history, only narrowly missed Peterson Air Force Base. The fire cost some $16 million to battle.
Presenting the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States on Friday at the Johns Hopkins University, Secretary of Defense James Mattis painted a picture of a dangerous world in which U.S. power – and all of the supposed “good” that it does around the world – is on the decline. “Our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare – air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace,” he said. “And it is continually eroding.” What he could have said instead is that the United States military is overextended in every domain, and that much of the chaos seen around the world is the direct result of past and current military adventurism. Further, he could have acknowledged, perhaps, that the erosion of U.S. influence has been the result of a series of self-inflicted blows to American credibility through foreign policy disasters such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
By Jay Cassano for International Bussiness Times - American taxpayers have spent $1.46 trillion on wars abroad since September 11, 2001. The Department of Defense periodically releases a “cost of war” report. The newly released version, obtained by the Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News blog, covers the time from the September 11th terrorist attacks through mid-2017. The Afghanistan War from 2001 to 2014 and Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 account for the bulk of expenses: more than $1.3 trillion. The continuing presence in Afghanistan and aerial anti-ISIS operations in Iraq and Syria since 2014 have cost a combined $120 billion. The report’s costs include only direct war-related expenses such as operating and maintaining bases, procuring equipment, and paying for and feeding troops. It most notably does not include the expense of veteran’s benefits for troops who serve in these wars or the intelligence community’s expenses related to Global War on Terror. A 2011 paper from Harvard Kennedy School professor Linda Bilmes estimated the cost of veterans’ benefits as $600 billion to $1 trillion over the next 40 years.
By Scot J. Paltrow for Reuters. The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced. The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up. As a result, the Army’s financial statements for 2015 were “materially misstated,” the report concluded. The “forced” adjustments rendered the statements useless because “DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.”