A recently declassified report from the Department of Defense reveals that the United States Army failed to monitor more than $1 billion-worth of arms transfers in Iraq and Kuwait, Amnesty International reports.
A September 2016 audit showed that the department “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a significant amount of equipment meant to go to the Iraqi Army.
“This audit provides a worrying insight into the U.S. Army’s flawed — and potentially dangerous — system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” Patrick Wilcken, a researcher from the London-based NGO, said.
The documents, which the group obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show that the Army didn’t know what was stored in its own warehouses — not keeping accurate records on tens of thousands of assault rifles worth $28 million and hundreds of armored Humvees.
The Defense Department is the only federal agency that has failed to pass an audit in the past 25 years.
And a 2015 audit found a similarly dangerous lack of organization — with some never-inventoried equipment being stored out in the open in shipping containers.
This type of carelessness can “greatly increase the risks of weapons going astray in a region where armed groups have wrought havoc and caused immense human suffering,” Wilcken said.
The U.S. military is by far the best funded in the world — with a budget larger than that of the next eight nations combined.
This isn’t the only scandal regarding U.S. defense spending. The Pentagon has been hard-pressed in recent weeks to explain why it buried an internal report that uncovered $125 billion in administrative waste.
The federal Government Accountability Office is also accusing the army of losing track of thousands of rifles meant for Afghan security forces, which were later documented in the hands of rebel fighters who used them in a battle where nine Americans died.
Still, the executive branch has proposed more money for defense spending. Donald Trump has asked Congress to add $54 billion to next year’s defense budget — one of the largest increases in American history.
That should solve it.
Next, see why Trump’s Defense Secretary says climate change has major military implications. Then, learn about how the French military is training eagles to take down drones.