Pentagon auditors unable to keep pace with spending: report

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2008 (AFP) – The Pentagon’s internal watchdog office has warned in a report to Congress made public Tuesday that its auditors are unable to keep pace with a ballooning US defense budget. The rapid growth of the defense budget to more than 600 billion dollars “leaves the department increasingly more vulnerable to fraud, waste, and abuse,” the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General said.

The March 2008 report said the office’s ability to adequately cover high risk areas and defense priorities “has become strained due to the fact that our staffing levels have remained nearly constant.”

“Furthermore, the demand for IG services to support the GWOT (global war on terrorism) and the ongoing operations in Southwest Asia has forced us to readjust priorities,” it said.

The result has been “gaps in coverage in important areas, such as major weapons systems acquisition, health care fraud, product substitution, and defense intelligence agencies.”

The agency said that to expand its work force it needed 25 million dollars more in funding in 2009 than the 247 million dollars requested by the administration.

The report was made public by the Project on Government Oversight, a