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The Pentagon moved a total of $35 trillion among its various budget accounts in 2019, Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg first reported.
That does not mean that the Defense Department spent, lost, or could not account for $35 trillion, said Bryan Clark, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank in Washington, D.C.
Money - DoD - Part - Budget - Clark
"It means money that DoD moved from one part of the budget to another," Clark explained to Task & Purpose. "So, like in your household budget: It would be like moving money from checking, to savings, to your 401K, to your credit card, and then back."
However, $35 trillion is close to 50-times the size of the Pentagon's 2019 budget, so that means every dollar the Defense Department received from Congress was moved up to 50 times before it was actually spent, Clark said.
Pentagon - Money - Budget - Accounts - Defense
While it's not illegal for the Pentagon to move money so often among different budget accounts, it does show that defense leaders are doing a poor job planning how they will spend their funds for the year, he said.
"And it means that you're probably spending a lot of time moving money around instead of actually getting the work done," Clark said.
Issue - Defense - Department - Money - Way
Another issue is whether the Defense Department is spending its money the way Congress envisioned it would, he said. Each budget category is so broadly defined that the Pentagon could use money slated for research and development to fund manpower costs if it wanted to.
"If DoD is moving money around to this degree, that means it's unlikely that Congress' intention is being followed to the letter," Clark said. "It means there's a lot of...
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