Pentagon wants $114 million for diversity, equity, inclusion initiatives after failing sixth consecutive annual audit

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The Pentagon is requesting $114.7 million to fund “diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility” initiatives in fiscal year 2024 after the department failed its sixth consecutive annual audit this month.

The Defense Department’s DEI spending has increased in recent years. In 2022, the department requested $68 million, and in 2023, $86.5 million, the Daily Wire reported. The DOD’s latest DEI-related budget request marks the largest yet.

The Pentagon’s Defense Budget Overview stated, “The FY 2024 President’s Budget request demonstrates the DoD’s commitment to DEIA and includes $114.7 million for dedicated diversity and inclusion activities.”

It noted that the funds will be invested “in programs and initiatives aimed at furthering DEIA, and incorporating DEIA values, objectives, and considerations in how we do business and execute our missions.”

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The Biden administration’s DOD aims to ensure that DEI initiatives infiltrate the “entire workforce.”

The Pentagon’s Strategic Management Plan for fiscal years 2022-2026 outlined five goals and 13 objectives for furthering the agency’s DEI efforts in the workforce. The goals include “enhanc[ing] global joint warfighter capability to address emerging security challenges,” advancing a “culture of organizational resiliency,” expanding “equity and equality,” promoting “workforce inclusivity,” and furthering a “commitment to accessibility.”

“A myriad of contemporary policy changes has encouraged racial/ethnic minorities, including immigrants, to consider Military Service. While these endeavors have substantially diversified the entry pipelines, racial/ethnic minority and female representation remains low at senior leadership levels,” the plan stated.

It further notes that the DOD must support an “environment free from extremist behavior.”

While the Biden administration’s Pentagon continues to set its focus on advancing DEI initiatives, the agency recently failed its sixth annual audit in a row last week.

Since the 1990s, the DOD has been required to complete yearly audits. However, the agency only began performing the mandatory audits in 2018. The Pentagon has never successfully passed any of its annual audits.

This year’s audit revealed that only half of the DOD’s $3.8 trillion in assets and $4 trillion in liabilities could be accounted for. Seven of the 29 components passed, and one received a “qualified” rating.

The review was conducted by 1,600 auditors who completed 700 site visits.

The DOD released an article last week, noting that the agency had made “incremental progress” since the previous year’s audit. Last year, the agency failed to prove expenditures for 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets.

Michael McCord, the undersecretary of defense comptroller and DOD’s chief financial officer, stated, “I want to highlight that while we still have much work to do, our work on the audit over the last few years has yielded significant benefits to the department.”

He added, “Our efforts to track coordinate (sic) and quickly deliver security systems to our allies and partners in Ukraine and now Israel is closely related to the work across the DOD enterprise on readiness.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said a successful audit is still years away.

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