Military and Defense

Watchdog Finds Pentagon’s Sloppy Recording Hinders Ability to Track Billions In Ukraine Aid

A Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General report made public Tuesday found that DOD employees fell short of requirements for tracking financial aid to Ukraine.

The report, dated July 8, examined how the DOD was monitoring transactions from over $6.5 billion in funding from the Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act through Advana, the only authorized reporting platform. Auditors warned that DOD’s subpar reporting processes, including use of systems that are unreadable to Advana, could hinder oversight and transparency.

“However, as the DOD is building processes and procedures to ensure the transparency of the reporting for the Ukraine supplemental funds, we identified multiple areas of concern that, if not adequately addressed, could reduce the traceability of Ukraine supplemental funds and the transparency in the DOD’s reporting,” the report said.

The IG report acknowledged that DoD has implemented recent improvements in reporting processes. However, the IG found that DOD employees often used reporting systems incompatible with Advana and employed “journal vouchers,” records that often lack enough information to trace disbursements back to the original funding account, according to Government Executive.

In addition, initial expenditures on Ukraine were not differentiated from base funding until April.

“The DOD’s use of systems that are not able to directly feed into Advana could limit the transparency of the execution of the Ukraine supplemental funds,” read the IG report, dated July 8.

President Joe Biden authorized the Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act in March, a separate fund from the $40 billion aid package signed later in May. The bill contained broad provisions for military, diplomatic and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

“We remain committed to providing transparency to the public and to Congress about how security assistance funds are utilized,” Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth, Defense spokesman, told Government Executive. “Ukrainian leadership has assured us that they understand the importance of accountability, and we are committed to working with them to further enhance accountability in the future.”

The report follows mounting concerns in Congress and among aid watchers that government agencies distributed financial assistance to Ukraine have inadequate monitoring. Money flowing into Ukraine could end up lining the pockets of corrupt officials instead of promoting Ukrainian war effort against Russia.

The DOD IG office declined to offer additional comment.

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