At the Pentagon, overpriced fuel sparks allegations – and denials – of a slush fund

(An additional 80 million dollars to “train” “rebels” in Syria. All off the books slush fund money with no accountability. 6 billion in all during the ObamaGod days. Not the 2.3 trillion that went “missing’ the day before 9/11, but still, a lot of damn unaccounted for money. What “rebel” activity did that 80 million pay for? Was it all in Syria or was some spent… I don’t know… in France perhaps?)

by Craig Witlock from Stars and Stripes (originally from the Washington Post)

The Pentagon has generated almost $6 billion over the past seven years by charging the armed forces excessive prices for fuel and has used the money – called the “bishop’s fund” by some critics – to bolster mismanaged or underfunded military programs, documents show.

Since 2015, the Defense Department has tapped surpluses from its fuel accounts for $80 million to train Syrian rebels, $450 million to shore up a prescription-drug program riddled with fraud and $1.4 billion to cover unanticipated expenses from the war in Afghanistan, according to military accounting records.

The Pentagon has amassed the extra cash by billing the armed forces for fuel at rates often much higher – sometimes $1 per gallon or more – than what commercial airlines paid for jetfuel on the open market.

Under a bureaucracy that dates to World War II, the Defense Department purchases all of its fuel centrally and then resells it at a fixed price to the Air Force, Navy, Army, Marine Corps and other customers, who pay for it out of their own budgets. The system is intended to reduce duplication and promote efficiency.

The Defense Department is the largest single consumer of fuel in the world. Each year, it buys about100 million barrels, or 4.2 billion gallons, of refined petroleum for its aircraft, warships, tanks and other machines.

The practice of exploiting fuel revenue to plug unrelated gaps in the defense budget has escalated in recent years, prompting allegations – and official denials – that the accounts are being used as a slush fund.

Pentagon officials defended the arrangement. Congress has routinely approved their requests to skim off the fuel-purchasing accounts as a straightforward way to balance the Defense Department’s books. Lawmakers, however, are increasingly questioning the budgeting methods that have enabled the Pentagon to accumulate large windfalls from fuel sales in the first place.

The obscure accounting policy exemplifies the enormous scale and complexity of the U.S. military’s business operations, and how waste and inefficiency in the defense bureaucracy can dwarf what Washington spends on other parts of the federal government.

In recent months, for example, the Pentagon has struggled to explain to Congress why it buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste, including sky-high salaries for legions of defense contractors…

[read more here]

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3 Responses

  1. What, our good buddies, the Saudis don’t give the Pentagon a discount?

    Here’s where the real slush fund is at, not paying for pens and computers, but 125 billion used to pay those ISIS/DAESH/al Sham terrorists and supply them with weapons.

    In recent months, for example, the Pentagon has struggled to explain to Congress why it buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste, including sky-high salaries for legions of defense contractors…

  2. “…sky-high salaries for legions of defense contractors…” – yes, all part and parcel of privatizing the military, and part of the neo-liberal/neocon agenda. And look at the symbiotic relationship between Silicon Valley (i.e. Alphabet, Amazon and others) without whom the gigantic surveillance state couldn’t exist.

    • It’s one situation in which business incentives join with government bureaucracy in a post-modern mix. Some generals live in luxury without having contributed much of anything in their careers. Let’s not forget that the Dept. of Defense even leases and/or manages resorts and golf courses.

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