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Commentary

United States Is Drowning in Debt: Pentagon Cannot Remember Where They Put $2.1 Billion

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A few billion here and a few billion there, and pretty soon we’re talking about real money.

It wasn’t that long ago that the federal government shut down after lawmakers refused to agree to President Trump’s $5.7 billion request for border funding. But while elected officials squabbled, the very same government has reportedly mishandled billions … all while the national debt continues to skyrocket.

A scathing 40-page report from the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General — a watchdog group tasked with holding the Pentagon responsible — was released on Friday. It claims that the DOD mismanaged the F-35 fighter program, and essentially lost track of a shocking $2.1 billion worth of government property.

“DoD officials did not account for and manage F‑35 Program Government property, including recording the property in an accountable property system of record,” the IG report found.

That may seem like a minor oversight or clerical error at first glance, but the scope of the lost property — mainly expensive parts for the F-35 — is staggering.

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Basically, the government has no idea how many parts are actually gone, because the Pentagon simply trusted the contractor Lockheed Martin to count and track the property.

“The only record of Government property for the F‑35 Program is with the contractor and its subcontractor, which valued the 3.45 million pieces of property at $2.1 billion,” the IG found.

And it certainly wasn’t just a one-time mistake.

“This occurred because DoD officials failed to implement procedures, and failed to appoint and hold officials responsible, to account for and manage Government property for more than 16 years,” the report declared. (Emphasis added.)

Is it time to scale back military funding for programs like the F-35?

To put this in more familiar terms, this is similar to contracting a builder to construct a house, and then just letting him tell you how much of your supplies and tools he took without verifying anything or keeping track of where material is going.

The bottom line to the scandal is that the Pentagon now has no idea whether the contractor’s accounting is even remotely correct, and is clueless as to what the F-35 program is actually worth.

“As a result, the DoD does not know the actual value of the F‑35 property and does not have an independent record to verify the contractor‑valued Government property of $2.1 billion for the F‑35 Program,” explained the report.

“Without accurate records, the F‑35 Program officials have no visibility over the property and have no metrics to hold the prime contractor accountable for how it manages Government property. The lack of asset visibility restricts the DoD’s ability to conduct the necessary checks and balances that ensure the prime contractor is managing and spending F‑35 Program funds in the Government’s best interest,” the watchdog group found.

While conservatives and liberals debate income tax levels and argue over budgets, this latest Pentagon scandal illustrates a deep issue that even the right hasn’t properly addressed: Government spending is out of control, and incompetence seems to be ripe.

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Just a month ago, the U.S. national debt hit an incredible $22 trillion. That’s $67,000 for every American, no matter their age. And it keeps rising, expanding by $2 trillion in just the time since Donald Trump took office.

This needs to stop. It must stop — because it can’t go on forever. Conservatives need to demand transparency and accountability from government officials, and that includes the Pentagon and its frequent waste of every American’s hard-earned money.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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