National Security

Published — January 27, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Pentagon criticized for falling short on efficiencies

Introduction

The Department of Defense spends billions of dollars every year to maintain contract management, finances, and weapon acquisition. A report by the Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon falls short in creating management and planning goals.

“Without a continuous focus on identifying and implementing efficiencies, DOD may be challenged in funding its highest-priority programs in light of DOD’s fiscal challenges,” the GAO warned.

The Pentagon has not set up procedures to help military departments reach a consensus on decision-making or synchronize plans with each other. Inter-department areas like budgeting, monitoring progress, or taking corrective action are of concern.

“It is unclear how DOD will establish accountability and leverage those positions to provide the leadership necessary to sustain momentum and progress in achieving reforms in the long term,” the report said.

The Pentagon’s budget goal for the next five years asks each military department to free up $28.3 billion in overhead costs.

FAST FACT: In 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates asked the department to improve efficiency and reduce costs, as part of an effort to cut $100 billion from the budget to finance the modernization of weapons.

Following are other new watchdog reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), various federal Offices of Inspector General (OIG), and other government entities.

ENVIRONMENT

  • Identifying the origin of carbon dioxide emissions presents a challenge for countries abiding to international agreements on greenhouse gas emissions. Current technology exists to directly monitor emissions on an annual basis, but will require additional developments to improve accuracy. In the meantime, estimating the output of a country’s energy infrastructure can serve as an alternative. (JASON)

MISC.

  • The Retreat at Santa Rita Springs, a housing community in Arizona, defaulted on a $29.9 million HUD-insured loan less than a month after the agency issued its final approval of the loan. As a result, the loan note was sold to an outside party for $9 million, which created a $20 million loss for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (OIG Department of Housing and Urban Development)
  • While the 2010 Census came in under budget, census management ignored recommendations to control wage, training and travels costs. In addition, problems caused by the IT system raised costs and may have affected the quality of the data collected. (OIG Department of Commerce)

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