NEWS

Report: Pentagon Mismanaged IED Funding

By Joseph Straw

The Pentagon isn’t keeping proper track of the more than $1 billion spent each year to defeat improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report presented to Congress Thursday.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed $795 million in spending for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JEIDDO) during fiscal year 2007, totaling more than half of the program’s $1.34 billion appropriations for the year.

The Department of Defense (DoD) miscategorized 83 percent of the money spent; and in 18 of 24 JIEDDO initiatives, administrators strayed from normal DoD management control standards, investigators found.

GAO cited four major elements missing from JIEDDO’s financial management system: documented policy, proper financial controls, adequate spending categorization, and an overarching mechanism to monitor the three together.

Separately, GAO found a problem at JEIDDO common across the U.S. war effort: a failure to fully identify, track, and report civilian contractors working under the program.

DoD concurred with the report’s findings, and argued that it has begun implementing necessary changes, according to the final report. “However, the specific efforts listed do not fully support JIEDDO’s statement that needed controls and operating procedures are fully developed,” the investigators wrote.

The DoD founded JIEDDO early in 2006 to consolidate efforts aimed at defeating the improvised bombs that account for roughly 70 percent of U.S. military casualties in Iraq, and 40 percent of combat deaths.

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