Nearly $28 billion in funds appropriated to the Pentagon were left unspent when its authority to spend it expired in 2018, a government watchdog report says. If the Department of Defense (DOD) does not spend its funds within the legal timeframes, the funds expire. In FY 2018, the DoD reported $27.7 billion of expired funds, meaning that, generally, the DoD can no longer use those funds for new spending. The 40-page report released by the department’s Inspector General’s office , said the unspent funding covers five years beginning in fiscal year 2013.
The report noted that if appropriated funding is not spent in certain time frames, it cannot be recovered and used for other spending. The lost funding accounts for less than one percent of the Pentagons’ budget over the five-year period The report was a follow-up to a Defense Department audit, the first in its history, which discovered the surplus. About 1,200 Pentagon auditors and five public accounting firms participated in the audit of the department’s $2.7 trillion in assets.
“It is critical that the DoD and its Components fix the weaknesses and deficiencies identified in the audit through the development, implementation, and monitoring of corrective action plans. In addition, the DoD must continue its commitment to the improvement of DoD business processes. The road to a clean financial statement opinion is a long-term effort,” the Inspector General’s report concluded.
Democratic Congressional legislators have long called for a reduced Pentagon budget. Information about inadvertent underspending could solidify their call to appropriate more federal money to domestic priorities. House Democrats have already indicated they will challenge the administration of President Donald Trump on its request for defense spending in the range of $700 billion to $750 billion.