The Pentagon Literally Has More Money Than It Knows What To Do With

Bullet Points

The Pentagon failed to spend an eye-popping $27.7 billion of the funds it was allocated over five fiscal years – and President Donald Trump intends to give the U.S. military even more taxpayer cash to play with next year.


  • According to a report from the Department of Defense Inspector General on the department's first-ever audit, the Pentagon did not spend $27.7 billion between fiscals 2013 and 2018.
  • "The $28 billion spans five years starting in fiscal 2013," Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood told Task & Purpose on Wednesday. "This is less than 1 percent of the department's budget over that time period."
  • How did this happen? Defense officials literally didn't spend the money fast enough. "Money appropriated by Congress expires if it isn't spent within certain time frames and typically can no longer be used for new spending," as Bloomberg Government explains. "For example, money in procurement accounts is available for three years, research accounts for two years while money in personnel and operations and maintenance accounts expires after one year."
  • The unspent funds, revealed as part of the first-ever full audit of Pentagon coffers, came just one month after Trump signaled to then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis that he planned on requesting a record $750 billion in national security spending for fiscal year 2020.
  • That proposed $750 billion budget for fiscal year 2020 would constitute an 8% increase over that $692 billion for fiscal signed into law by Trump in December 2017.
  • The DoD IG report comes amid Trump's stated plan to declare a national emergency and bypass Congress in order to nail down $5.7 billion in funds for construction of a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, a project that would dip into the DoD's budget to mobilize the military to complete the barrier.

Correction: An earlier version of this story reported that all $28 billion was not spent in fiscal 2018.

SEE ALSO: Trump Reportedly Just Reversed His Decision To Cut Defense Spending

WATCH NEXT: Trump Scolds NATO On Defense Spending

On Saturday, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduated the most diverse class in the academy's history.

Read More Show Less

PORTLAND — They are "the honored dead" for this special day each year, on Memorial Day.

But for the rest of the year, America's war dead of the 20th century can be far removed from the nation's awareness.

The final resting places of some 124,000-plus U.S. servicemen are at far-away hallowed grounds not always known to their countrymen.

They are America's overseas military cemeteries.

Read More Show Less

NEWPORT — The explosion and sinking of the ship in 1943 claimed at least 1,138 lives, and while the sea swallowed the bones there were people, too, who also worked to shroud the bodies.

The sinking of the H.M.T. Rohna was the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of U.S. war, but the British Admiralty demanded silence from the survivors and the tragedy was immediately classified by the U.S. War Department.

Michael Walsh of Newport is working to bring the story of the Rohna to the surface with a documentary film, which includes interviews with some of the survivors of the attack. Walsh has interviewed about 45 men who were aboard the ship when it was hit.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Marine Corps photo

Editor's note: this story originally appeared in 2018

How you die matters. Ten years ago, on Memorial Day, I was in Fallujah, serving a year-long tour on the staff and conducting vehicle patrols between Abu Ghraib and Ramadi. That day I attended a memorial service in the field. It was just one of many held that year in Iraq, and one of the countless I witnessed over my 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Like many military veterans, Memorial Day is not abstract to me. It is personal; a moment when we remember our friends. A day, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “sacred to memories of love and grief and heroic youth."

Read More Show Less

Arnold Zuniga walked quickly, quietly, to the wall of the fallen and dragged his finger across the name of the childhood friend who never came back.

Read More Show Less