According to a new scathing report from the Department of Defense Inspector General, Pentagon officials cannot account for $2.1 Billion worth of missing fighter jet parts.
Pentagon officials did not account for and manage $2.1 billion worth of F-35 joint strike fighter parts and must now rely on the aircraft's maker, Lockheed Martin, to tell them where and when it spent the funds, according to a new watchdog report.
The scathing report from the Defense Department Inspector General's (DOD IG) office found that Pentagon officials "failed to implement procedures, and failed to appoint and hold officials responsible, to account for and manage government property for more than 16 years."
As a result of major oversights, "the DoD does not know the actual value of the F‑35 property and does not have an independent record to verify the contractor‑valued government property of $2.1 billion for the F‑35 Program," the report states.
The implications are significant, the inspector general noted, since without accurate records F‑35 program officials have no metrics to hold Lockheed accountable for how it managed 3.45 million pieces of government property.
"The lack of asset visibility restricts the DoD's ability to conduct the necessary checks and balances that ensure the prime contractor is managing and spending F‑35 Program funds in the government's best interest and could impact the DoD's ability to meet its operational readiness goals for the F‑35 aircraft," the report finds.
The $400 billion F-35 program, the most expensive weapons program in history, has been decried by critics as a boondoggle. The fifth generation fighter jet has been plagued with numerous issues over the years, including cost overruns, software delays, corrosion and even problems with tire durability.
It has also long been the target of lawmakers, most notably the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain, the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in 2016 that the program has "been a scandal and the cost overruns have been disgraceful."
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