A new audit from the Defense Department reveals that the Pentagon “lost track” of more than $715 million dollars in weapons and equipment that was meant to be used in the fight against ISIS. But this is not the first time this has happened…
The Pentagon has spared no expense when it comes to designating weapons and equipment for the fight against ISIS. But reports are once again confirming that they are not nearly as eager to track those weapons once they have been deployed.
According to the latest audit from the DOD’s Office of the Inspector General, the Special Operations Joint Task Force to combat ISIS did not account for the $715.8 million dollars in weapons and equipment it requested in 2017 and 2018. They claimed they did not keep lists of the equipment that was purchased and received. And the records that were kept were made by multiple entities and stored in numerous locations.
In addition to blaming the lost equipment on accounting errors, the report also noted that the US was sending so many weapons to the region that they were not able to properly store and secure all of them. As a result, those weapons were exposed to harsh environmental elements.
In one case, this included more than 4,000 Category II sensitive weapons, such as machine guns and grenade launchers that were stored outside in metal shipping containers.
The report did not confirm if the Pentagon believes the equipment ended up in the hands of the same group they claim to be fighting, but it does raise questions about whether anyone will be held accountable or anything will be changed to keep this from happening in the future.
This problem is nothing new, and it comes just a few years after a 2016 audit showed that the US failed to account for more than $1 billion dollars’ worth of weapons transferred to Iraq and Kuwait.
Despite numerous reports that US weapons had fallen into the hands of ISIS as a result, the US Military simply promised they would tighten controls on weapons transfers.
But a report from Amnesty International noted that the Department of Defense made an almost identical promise back in 2007 when it was caught failing to keep track of the weapons it transferred to Iraq.
We have also seen similar problems in Afghanistan, where interviews with top generals and military officials revealed that the US has been fueling corruption in the country for years by supplying billions of dollars in weapons and equipment with no oversight.
Despite audit after audit that shows the Pentagon wasting taxpayer funds since the start of the “War on Terror,” no one has been held accountable, and it’s still not clear if any significant changes will be made. And despite recent failures, the Defense Department is sending another $173 million dollars in weapons and equipment to Syria for the fight against ISIS in 2020.