Use the Adobe search engine for "DOD" to see the references to the Pentagon. It's not a new story; I see no differences in this GAO report compared to their reports on DOD's un-trackable, un-verifiable, impossible to validate spending for the last two decades. People say DOD has "made progress, but problems remain." I fail to see any progress.
People also say this is a question of finding waste, fraud, and abuse. That would be helpful, but it also misses the point. Today and for decades, no one can track entirely legal spending to determine how money is spent. For example, allocations of overhead to Lockheed may be entirely legal but also outrageous; program estimates for MDAPs' past, present, and future costs remain impossible to verify; and, as the GAO report today says, a significant part of DOD health care costs - which everybody now knows are unaffordable - cannot be "supported;" perhaps the unverifiable estimates we have today are underestimates. In DOD's system, we don't know the amount or even the vector of the current mis-estimate.
As Chuck Spinney points out, this is not just a matter of standards for minimally acceptable competence (which DOD persistently fails), it is a matter fundamental to the Constitution's accountability clause that requires government wide accountability of all, repeat all, appropriations. That accountability is fundamental to our system of checks and balances. The Pentagon has exempted itself; people declare their dissatisfaction with that and then do nothing meaningful about it. Expect it to continue - ad nauseam.
The next time you read a figure asserting the cost of a DOD program, weapon, or policy, remember: what you are getting it what the DOD bureaucracy wants you to get.
Winslow T. Wheeler
Straus Military Reform Project
Center for Defense Information