Army loses track of spending on program designed to track spending

For Saturday night, a classic tale which apparently could only happen in Washington, brought to us by our friends at Outside the Beltway. Our Army… our troops and equipment, are the finest in the world, ideally suited to fulfill their mission when called upon to fight in defense of the nation. But any operation of such a massive size requires a mountain of paperwork to manage things in the background and lots of money to keep it running. And that, my friends, is a job for a different sort of army… a battalion of bureaucrats.

What could possibly go wrong? You need a good system to track funding, equipment and expenses in an organization like the Army, and beginning in the late nineties they developed a program to do just that. Unfortunately, things took a turn… (Emphasis mine)

The Global Combat Support System-Army, a logistical support system meant to track supplies, spare parts and other equipment, was launched in 1997. In 2003, the program switched from custom software to a web-based commercial software system.

About $95 million was spent before the switch was made, according to the report from the Department of Defense IG.

As of this February, the Army had spent $725.7 million on the system, which is ultimately expected to cost about $4.3 billion.

More than $725 million was spent by the Army on a high-tech network for tracking supplies and expenses that failed to comply with federal financial reporting rules meant to allow auditors to track spending, according to an inspector general’s report issued Wednesday.

Sort of like the old joke about the best definition of an oxymoron being military intelligence. This is clearly a serious problem, but sometimes all you can do is laugh.

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