Watchdog: Pentagon missed out on $33.6B in savings

Watchdog: Pentagon missed out on $33.6B in savings
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The Pentagon may miss out on $33.6 billion in savings by not adopting recommendations made by its own watchdog, according to a new report.

In a 458-page document released last week, the Defense Department’s Inspector General's (IG) office found that 1,298 recommendations it made from 2006 to March of this year remain open.

Of the total recommendations, “58 have associated potential monetary benefits,” the report said. But it added that the IG office and the military services “have not agreed on an acceptable corrective action" to meet those recommendations.


Should the Pentagon implement all 58 recommendations, it could save some of the $33.6 billion, but too much time has passed to save all of it, writes Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general. 

In one case, the IG found that the Marine Corps may waste $22.2 billion by deciding in fiscal year 2013 to buy 44 more CH-53K Heavy Lift helicopters than needed. The Marine Corps relied on old documents to justify the increase, and the IG recommended in May 2013 that the service review such a decision before it started buying the aircraft.

At the time of the IG report, the Marines had not given an update on where the recommendation stands.

In another example, the IG found that the Air Force threw away up to $8.8 billion by deciding in fiscal 2015 to buy more MQ-9 Reaper drones than needed and by not taking up IG recommendations from September 2014.

Of the 1,298 recommendations, 832 have sat for a year or more, 181 are from three years ago or more, and two are 10 years old.

The Army has 274 open recommendations — the most of the services — while the Air Force has 166 and the Navy has 148. The remaining fall under the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, and the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

“The DoD [Office of the Inspector General] will continue to track open recommendations and engage with DoD senior managers who are responsible for resolving disagreements and implementing corrective actions,” Fine writes.