Spending watchdog accuses Ministry of Defence of wasting billions

Billions of pounds in taxpayers’ money have been wasted as the Department of Defense continually fails to learn from its mistakes, the House of Commons spending watchdog said.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a very critical report accusing the ministry of having a “broken” system for procuring military equipment.

The bipartisan committee said in a report released on Wednesday it was “extremely disappointed and frustrated with the continuing poor record” of the Defense Department’s procurement.

In the face of “billions of dollars wasted in taxpayers’ money,” MPs urged the Treasury and Cabinet Office to review the Department of Defense’s model of equipment delivery.

“The department’s system of providing critical equipment has broken and is continually wasting taxpayers’ money,” they wrote.

The PAC warned that the department “is continually failing to learn from its mistakes” because it has “overlooked many expensive failures”.

They called for further “disasters” such as the troubled £ 5.5 billion Ajax tank program to be avoided through greater openness earlier in the procurement process.

MEPs, however, said they were not convinced that the Ministry of Defense was “sufficiently serious” during the evidence in front of the committee or could quickly bring about the necessary “radical leap in performance”.

They also said witnesses did not give them assurances that they would “not just throw good money after bad.”

And the committee said it was “deeply concerned about the inability or unwillingness of the department’s witnesses to answer basic questions.”

PAC Chairwoman Dame Meg Hillier said: “Despite years of official inquiries and recommendations and promises of learning and change, we have still not heard from the Department of Defense to reassure our greatest concern, which is now the lauded and vast improvement over the last Year is The department’s budget is not simply used to fill financial gaps in their programs. It seems that no matter who we ask across the ministry, regardless of their particular responsibilities, they all point to the same additional funding as a solution to their problems.

“The Department of Defense management seems to have calculated that, at the expense of a few uncomfortable hours in front of a special committee, they can get away with leaving one of the greatest financial gaps in the budget of any government department, not just for the moment,” but year after year . This committee is determined that this situation cannot and will not continue. “

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