Investments that pay 1,200 percent interest are unheard of, but the latest report to Congress from the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General claims that’s the return to taxpayers as a result of its investigations, audits, and reviews.
“For every dollar in our budget, we return nearly $12 to the taxpayer,” said Bruce Anderson, a spokesman for the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General.
“In the past six months, the DoD OIG has continued to be a good investment for American taxpayers in support of our mission to provide independent, relevant, and timely oversight of the Department of Defense,” Anderson said in a statement accompanying the release of the watchdog agency’s semi-annual report to Congress covering April 1 through Sept. 30.
The report is replete with examples of classic Pentagon waste, fraud, abuse, and general incompetence, which represent a $2.14 billion "return on investment” once the budget for the office is subtracted.
Among the criminal cases closed by agency investigators were the alleged violations of the False Claims Act by a pharmaceutical manufacturer who agreed to reimburse the government $58 million, and a Chinese businessman who received a 10-year prison sentence for attempting to provide material support or resources to a designated terrorist organization.
But much of what the IG’s office does is basic oversight, in which auditors root out wasteful, inefficient or even dangerous business practices.
For example, the DoD IG reported the Army botched its program to modernize its fleet of H-60 Black Hawk helicopters, failing to provide adequate funding and training for pilots and not conducting required airframe condition evaluations on some 460 helicopters.
The inspector general’s office has compiled a list of 1,298 recommendations that have not been acted on, including 58 that it says if implemented could have saved the Pentagon billions of dollars.
“This compendium received significant attention throughout the DoD, and spurred corrective action on many of the open recommendations, which was its intended purpose,” said Glenn Fine, acting inspector general in a preface to the report.
But the biggest savings continues to come from hunting and prosecuting criminals, which brought in $1.1 billion during the six-month reporting period.
The agency’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service has 1,623 ongoing investigations, allegations of procurement fraud, public corruption, product substitution, healthcare fraud, illegal transfer of technology, and cyber crimes.