Trillions of Dollars in U.S. Military Spending Is Unaccounted-For

Eric Zuesse

First, a tip of the hat to Carl Herman for his having linked on July 19th to Catherine Austin Fitts’ recent placing on her site key records from the U.S. Department of Defense regarding the astounding level of uninvestigated waste at the Pentagon. (Carl’s article is here: and it goes into many other issues as well.) Having looked at that, I will be focusing in more closely, on some of the shocking statements that are made in those documents, and on the role that the newsmedia should be playing in publicizing this scandal, and posing some questions as to why they’re not doing that, because this failure by the U.S. ‘news’ media is very perplexing to me:

Now, and for many decades past, the American public has displayed far higher confidence and trust in “The Military” than in any other “Institution” (including than churches, schools, the Presidency, the police, courts — any).

And yet — according to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense — many billions, and sometimes even trillions, of dollars, in the Department’s periodic financial reports, are not documented. What has happened to the taxpayers’ money is unknown — it’s missing (alleged to have been spent, but to payees unidentified).

According to the DOD’s IG, this goes on year-after-year (yet without at all reducing Americans’ trust in “The Military”). Apparently, Americans, as a lot, are gluttons for punishment — or else our ’news’media haven’t sufficiently reported the “waste, fraud, and abuse” that “The Military” are doing to the American public. Either way, there is this extraordinarily high public confidence in the military ongoing year-after-year though the U.S. DOD continues to be the only unauditable federal Department, and expenditures amounting (over the years) into trillions of dollars remain unaccounted-for. But here will now be the American ‘news’media’s chance to call to the public’s attention this discrepancy between the military’s reality and the public’s perceptions of that reality, by publishing this documentation:

On July 14th, Catherine Austin Fitts posted to her website links to some of the key relevant federal documents. Her site is linked-to below, and some of the documents that refer to trillions of dollars unaccounted-for are also linked-to below, and are then quoted from, so that a reader can obtain a sense both of the enormity of the corruption, and also of the authoritativeness of the official statements that are being made here, regarding that corruption.

I am using here the word “corruption” because whenever an official finding by a U.S. government agency is reporting trillions of dollars of taxpayer money that have been spent for purposes and recipients that are unknown, I call it “corruption,” on the basis that: regardless of whether or not the matter is intended or is instead sloppiness, even mere sloppiness is heinous if it ranges into trillions of dollars of taxpayer-money missing or wrongly spent. Even sloppiness of that magnitude, in the expenditure of taxpayer funds, reflects corruption, if it continues on for years, or especially (as it is shown to do here) for decades, and still has not been stopped.

In fact, the most recent such IG report makes clear (on page “7 of 74”) that “Army and Defense Finance and Accounting Service Indianapolis personnel did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in third quarter adjustments and $6.5 trillion in yearend adjustments made to Army General Fund data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation.” These “adjustments” had been made to prior unacceptable reports, but were still failing to explain where the money had gone. Here is the main site (solari, of Catherine Austin Fitts), and excerpts from the main documents, which excerpts are posted immediately below it:


DOD and HUD Missing Money: Supporting Documentation

Catherine Austin Fitts, News & Commentary on July 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm


1. 2015 Semiannual Report to Congress

“We determined that 236, totaling $2 trillion, of the 263 third quarter JV adjustments in our sample, and 170, totaling $2.1 trillion, of the 194 yearend JV adjustments in our sample, were in fact unsupported.”


6. 2010 Testimony of the Deputy Inspector General, DOD

“We found the Department’s review process included less than half of the fiscal year 2010 first quarter gross outlays.10 Comptroller officials stated that the $167.5 billion in outlays the Department did not examine for improper payments included internal and intragovernmental transfers. Those outlays were not subject to the OMB reporting requirements since the payments did not leave the Government. However, we later determined that Comptroller officials did not perform a reconciliation to determine whether these outlays were internal or intragovernmental transfers. A complete reconciliation is still needed to demonstrate that all outlays are being examined for overpayments and in order to accurately report the extent of the overpayments. Specifically, DoD did not review approximately $167.5 billion of the $303.7 billion in gross outlays for high dollar overpayments. Additionally, some overpayments that we or the Department identified were not reported, and the First Quarter FY 2010 High Dollar Overpayments Report did not include sufficient information about recoveries and corrective actions.”

“Unless DoD improves its methodology to review all its disbursements, it will continue to understate its estimate of overpayments and will likely miss opportunities to collect additional improper payments.”

“We are concerned with the accuracy and reliability of the Department’s estimation process. Without a reliable process to review all expenditures and identify the full extent of improper payments, the Department will not be able to improve internal controls aimed at reducing improper payments. 12 The Department’s financial management processes are not always adequate to prevent or detect improper payments. For example, in our recent audit of a contract supporting Broad Area Maritime Surveillance, we found DoD personnel did not validate that the contractor was entitled to $329.3 million it received as of January 12, 2010. These are costs paid to contractors that Defense Contract Audit Agency questioned because they do not comply with rules, regulations, laws and/or contract terms which meets the definition of an improper payment. These improper payments the audit agency identified are greater than the $1.3 billion of improper payments the Department identified during 2004 to 2010.”


Inspector General U.S. Department of Defense Report No. DODIG-2016-113 JULY 26, 2016 Army General Fund Adjustments Not Adequately Documented or Supported.

“OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not adequately document or support adjustments made to AGF data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation. Specifically, OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis personnel did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in JV adjustments for third quarter and $6.5 trillion in JV adjustments for yearend.17”



“The audits of the FY 1999 DoD financial statements indicated that $7.6 trillion of accounting entries were made to compile them. This startling number is perhaps the most graphic available indicator of just how poor the existing systems are. The magnitude of the problem is further demonstrated by the fact that, of $5.8 trillion of those adjustments that we audited this year, $2.3 trillion were unsupported by reliable explanatory information and audit trails or were made to invalid general ledger accounts. About $602.7 billion of accounting entries were made to correct errors in feeder reports.”



Here, from the list of the 100 largest, are the 20 largest recipients of U.S. federal government money:

1. Lockheed Martin Corp.

2. The Boeing Company

3. Raytheon Company

4. General Dynamics Corp.

5. Northrop Grumman Corp.

6. United Technologies Corp.

7. L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.

8. BAE Systems plc

9. Humana Inc.

10. Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

11. Bechtel Group Inc.

12. Health Net Inc.

13. Unitedhealth Group Inc.

14. SAIC Inc.

15. General Atomic Technologies Corp.

16. McKesson Corp.

17. Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office

18. AmerisourceBergen Corp.

19. Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp.

20. United Launch Alliance L.L.C.

As is obvious, all or almost all of these firms are contractors to (recipients of money from) the U.S. Department of Defense; and they may reasonably be presumed to be benefiting significantly from some of the unaccounted-for payments from the U.S. DOD. However, if the money isn’t going to them, then where is it going? And why? And for what? Why is there no congressional investigation to answer these questions? And why are U.S. ‘news’media not publicizing this matter so as to force such investigations? Are payoffs involved — payoffs for silence? Why are none of the ‘news’media that have the resources to explore these questions, publishing their own investigations into it, since Congress won’t investigate? And, since the Inspector General’s reports into these matters have had no impact, why isn’t the focus finally shifting away from studying to find how much is missing, toward instead prosecuting the people who — at the very least — failed to do what they were being paid to do: keep track of every cent of taxpayers’ money? If doing that job is too dangerous, then shouldn’t the people who are tasked to do it be paid more, so as to cover their exceptionally high personal risk? Is all of this secrecy really necessary in order to keep “The Military” way on top as the most respected of all institutions in the United States — even after all of the harms that the U.S. military has actually caused in Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc., destroying those countries and others? How much would the public’s respect for the military — the mass-killing institution — be brought down, if the truth about it were known? Would the mass-killing institution deserve to be the most respected institution even if it weren’t so corrupt?


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • WillDippel

    Here is an article that looks at how much money is transferred on an annual basis from U.S. taxpayers to the American defense industry:

    American taxpayers have sunk trillions of dollars into the defense industry, particularly since the War on Terror began in 2001.

    • Jed Grover

      The headlines should read “The 1 Percent was Overthrown in a Coup and Trialled for Crimes against Humanity”.

    • See my previous comment to see how much that works out on a p/p basis.

  • zartan

    Trust in the Military? Only Fools! And, I do not want to hear a GD word Christians because when YOU see GOD He will tell you exactly the same.

    The US military is nothing but a renew of the Roman Empire! Conquest and Empire all to serve the Bankers! There has never been a threat to US sovereignty. The War on Terror is a JOKE! Only the dumbest people in history could fall for such. And, for all of you who are against universal healthcare, it is funny how the military has such and nobody says a word, FOOLS!

    Simply, Americans are the problem. Americans are a slave people who worship their enslavement.

    Until Americans Wake up and Realize what they are, there is never going to be any hope, none, whatsoever!

    • Bodhisattva

      U$ military setup + MIC combined runs the biggest ‘operational’ scam of the modern World – it is supported by most outstanding ‘strategic’ scam of all times i.e. Dollar printing of Federal Reserve !

      Who bear the brunt of both scams – No. 1 the U$ common people who are brainwashed since they are out of mother’s womb, so that they parrot the statement “supporting U$ military is patriotism” and
      No. 2 the common people of the World, who are waking up from their sleep to understand U$- promoted “democracy, human rights” are just cover for swindling of money & resources by Zionist Capitalist Imperialist Oligarchy.

      • Zartan

        Yes, and the people need a fire put under their ASS! Brainwashing is one thing, and we all suffered that, but there has got to be a GD point where even the brainless wake up!

        I have been Warning for Decades! However, I have also given a “solution” that I cannot employ myself without Direct Command of Gods Powers! Nevertheless, if ONLY 1-million Americans “wake up” gather their pitchforks and set siege to the NYSE they will get “anything” and everything they want or the Government(s), every corporation and wall street come tumbling down like a house of cards with a quad-trillion of bad investments, debt and derivatives overhead.

        The Police and Military are Checkmated with “500,000-1-million Protesters,” and that number should be very easy to collect since 500,000 showed up in washington to wear female genitalia on their heads!

    • Jed Grover

      NYT still glorifying the treasonous Bush-Scherf Nazi Crime family as noble. Daddy Bush’s announcement of NWO should have been the wake up sign. These two war criminals lied to the nation and took us to war to advance this predatory monopolistic Capitalist/Banker looting cause. All of the tax payer funded MIC was used specifically for this diabolical secretive initiative. I refer to as the “Cecil Rhodes” mentality. Interested in becoming a Rhodes Scholar? Rich man’s scam soon to be the Global Mafia and lots of manufactured chaotic & crisis reality magic tricks. 9/11 Las Veges style.

      • Zartan

        Agree … When Bush opened his Stupid Mouth about NWO he should have been Jailed or Hung! NYT and all the other Mega Corporations are lead by hand picked and paid for lackeys of the uber-wealthy banker families that run this godforsaken planet!

        They can be Crushed, but You have to know where to HIT them … Wall Street. One Million Protesters is all it would take and you can find more than that living in poverty in NYC, alone! Anyone who does not understand is not an American.

      • Holleytfulford

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pa200d:
        On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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        • Zartan

          You know, this poster deserves an IP block!

  • Using a population of 320 million – For every trillion that the US DOD is unable to account for amounts to over $3000 p/p.

    The DOD is unable to account for over 6 trillion.

    The Wall $treet bailout amounted to 14-17 Trillion. – Behind The Real Size of the Bailout [Mother Jones]

    The Fed could not pass an audit and is unable to account for 9 trillion.

  • Bob

    Black budgets go for black ops, and the last thing Congress wants to do is investigate black ops.

    • This is the thing with a nation where the leading politicians all claim that they’re exceptional — it is one thing to claim they’re exceptional but it means nothing without the support of law enforcement and the armed forces.

  • Carl_Herman

    Thanks for joining me to “catch and pass” this topic of trillions looted, Eric.

    Yes, if people knew they’d call this what it is: a warmongering, looting, lying .01% rogue state class. And shortly after enough call it out, we’ll have .01% arrests.

    • The US taxpayers are being ripped of as if it were a carefully prepared heist of the century.

  • R. Stephen Dorsey

    While I’m happy to see this issue forced under the public nose, I take issue with one point (as Zartan does): The American people are not gluttons for punishment. They are hedonistically unwilling to perform almost any act of civic responsibility and self-education. And, with the education they are forced to receive, they are ill-prepared to understand the information available nor winnow it. The sin is called Sloth.