Sequestration-sensitive Pentagon Misses $145M in Improper Payments | Citizens Against Government Waste

Sequestration-sensitive Pentagon Misses $145M in Improper Payments

The WasteWatcher

Not all improper payments are fraudulent (inadvertent expenditures are all too common in the federal government, but many are “honest mistakes” without nefarious intent), but all fraud should be considered improper. Or so one would think. On Thursday, January 15, 2015, the Washington Examiner reported that “Pentagon counters missed $145 million in wasted military health benefits.” The Department of Defense inspector general (DODIG) calculated that the Defense Health Agency (DHA) lost about $213 million in 2013 to improper payments. Of that total, the DHA only reported improper payments of about $68 million, neglecting to include $145 million presumably lost to fraud. Their rationale for the omission? Well, if you publicize the amount of fraud, you’ll tip off the fraudsters that you’re onto them. Therefore, we should hide the number. Besides, it is another part of the Pentagon altogether that tracks fraud, so that’s not really our job. Huh? While we are not always sure that it’s the case, we would hope that, at the very least, our federal government could walk and chew gum at the same time. To wit: without revealing sources or divulging the particulars of ongoing investigations, the Pentagon should let the taxpayers know the larger truth – that is, how much of their hard-earned dollars have been squandered, whether inadvertently or fraudulently – or both. Despite what the colorful Col. Nathan “You can’t handle the truth” Jessep exclaimed on the stand in the classic court-martial film, A Few Good Men, the American public can handle the truth. Moreover, we deserve it. For the rest of the story, please refer to the DODIG’s report, released on January 14, 2015.

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