DOD's September spending spikes continue

By Tony Bertuca / November 27, 2017 at 5:09 PM

The Defense Department keeps spending substantially more on contracts in September, the final month of the fiscal year, than all other months, a practice that continues to spur concerns about inefficiency and waste, according to a new Congressional Research Service report.

"Over the last five years, obligations in September have been roughly double those in other months," according to the report, which was first released by Secrecy News.

The department in fiscal year 2016 obligated $298 billion in contracts, with an average of $25 billion every month, the report states. However, DOD obligated $43 billion in September of FY-16.

The CRS report references previous studies and memos on the problems posed by end-of-fiscal-year spending spikes, including a 2012 memo from then-Pentagon Comptroller Bob Hale and then-Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall.

"The threat that funding will be taken away or that future budgets can be reduced unless funds are obligated on schedule is a strong and perverse motivator," they wrote.

The report also mentions various unsuccessful legislative efforts to stem the increases in end-of-year obligations.

"Despite these efforts to reduce possible wasteful end-of-year spending, spikes continue," the report states.