The Pentagon failed its sixth audit in a row last month.
And “failed” is putting it generously. The department actually received a “ disclaimer of opinion .” According to the Government Accountability Office, that means “auditors were unable to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion.” So the outcome is more like an “incomplete” than an abject failure.
But semantics aside, one major reason the Pentagon keeps failing audits is because it can’t keep track of its property. Last year, the Pentagon couldn’t properly account for a whopping 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets. That figure increased this year, with the department insufficiently documenting 63% of its now $3.8 trillion in assets. Military contractors possess many of these assets, but to an extent unbeknownst to the Pentagon.
Lockheed Martin The Board of Directors includes former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Joseph Dunford (2015-2019) and former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (2013-2017).
Boeing Republican presidential candidate Governor Nikki Haley is worth $8 million dollars from speaking fees, book deals, real estate, after joining the board of Boeing. Another member here is retired Admiral John Richardson, who served as Chief of Naval Operations (2015-2019). This is the highest-ranking position in the U.S Navy.
Northrop Grumman Admiral Gary Roughead, who served as Chief of Naval Operations from 2011 to 2015, is on the board at Northrop Grumman.
General Dynamics Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis (2017-2019) is on the board of General Dynamics. Incidentally, Secretary Mattis’ top deputy at the Pentagon was Patrick Shanahan. Before President Trump appointed Shanahan to be the Deputy Secretary of Defense, he worked at Boeing for 30 years.
RTX In 2020, Raytheon and United Technologies merged. The company changed its name to the RTX Corporation in 2023. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin served on the board of Raytheon before taking over the Pentagon in 2021. Admiral James Winfield Jr. was the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2011- 2015) and has been serving on Raytheon’s board since 2017, and later the RTX board, while simultaneously serving as the Chair of President Biden’s Intelligence Advisory Board since 2022.
One can continue this list corruption indefinitely. This small list is part of a much greater trend in influence peddling.
Another issue is the ownership of stocks in defense firms from members of Congress, as well as their close relatives.
I know you’re joking. How can it not happen here? When these “stars” talk about courage and valor and sacrifice etc, isn’t that what we’re sacrificing for? Profits? The principle that, if I stomp over as many people as I can to line my pockets it’s actually the best thing that can happen to everybody else?
PS: I believe some are real people and true believers. They’re not all crass, self-serving, ahem “careerists.”
Heh, that Boeing board seat came up in a “vigorous” discussion I saw a few days ago. It might inform that board seat context to remind folks that the Boeing 78 plant, the one with QC so shoddy that the FAA took over inspections itself, is in SC.