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Unaccountable: The high cost of the Pentagon's bad bookkeeping

For two decades, the U.S. military has been unable to submit to an audit, flouting federal law and concealing waste and fraud totaling billions of dollars, a Reuters investigation found.

At the DFAS offices that handle accounting for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other defense agencies, fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure, Reuters has found. And plugging isn’t confined to DFAS (pronounced DEE-fass). Former military service officials say record-keeping at the operational level throughout the services is rife with made-up numbers to cover lost or missing information.

A review of multiple reports from oversight agencies in recent years shows that the Pentagon also has systematically ignored warnings about its accounting practices. Plugs also are symptomatic of one very large problem: the Pentagon’s chronic failure to keep track of its money - how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is wasted or stolen.

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