"The Defense Department's accounting practices are in such disarray that defense officials can't track how much equipment the military owns, where it all is or exactly how they spend defense dollars every year, according to a report Thursday by a nongovernmental group.
Since 1990, Congress has required government agencies to apply the same "financial discipline" as private companies, but the Pentagon hasn't yet balanced its books under acceptable accounting standards.
Much of the problem stems from the sheer size of the Defense Department and the extent of its activities. There are more than 1.2 million people in uniform. More than 20,000 people work at the Pentagon alone.
Lawrence J. Korb, who was a Pentagon official in the Reagan administration, said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has said he could save $20 billion a year alone by overhauling the Pentagon's procurement and business practices. "