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.
An airplane with the Russian flag is seen at Simon Bolivar International Airport in Caracas, Venezuela March 24, 2019. (Reuters/Carlos Jasso)
WASHINGTON/CARACAS (Reuters) - The United States on Monday accused Russia of "reckless escalation" of the situation in Venezuela by deploying military planes and personnel to the crisis-stricken South American nation that Washington has hit with crippling sanctions.
Sailors from Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), currently assigned to USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) works on a mock patient during a mass casualty drill for Mercy Exercise (MERCEX) in December 2018. (U.S. Navy/Cameron Pinske)
In March 2014, at Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington, Navy Lt. Rebekah "Moani" Daniel was admitted to have her first child. A labor and delivery nurse who worked at the facility, she was surrounded by friends and co-workers when daughter Victoria entered the world.
But four hours later, the 33-year-old was dead, having lost more than a third of her body's volume of blood to post-partum hemorrhaging. Her husband's attorney argues that the doctors failed to deploy treatments in time to halt the bleeding, leading to her death.
Her baby, now 5, never felt her mom's embrace.
This Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a petition from Moani Daniel's husband, Walter Daniel, in his case against the Navy hospital where his wife died. Like every other service member, Daniel was required to get medical care from the U.S. military, but her family is prohibited from suing for medical malpractice, barred by a 69-year-old legal ruling known as Feres that precludes troops from suing the federal government for injuries deemed incidental to military service.
"Suppose you had two sisters. One was on active duty and the other was a military dependent. Both of them give birth in adjoining rooms at the same military hospital [by the same doctor]. Both are victims of malpractice. One can sue and the other one can't. How can that make sense?" asked attorney Eugene Fidell, a former Coast Guard judge advocate general and military law expert who lectures at Yale Law School.