Between 2010 and 2012, the U.S. Army continued to issue paychecks to soldiers who had been declared absent without leave (AWOL) or deserters.
The finding comes from a new audit that discovered $16 million in payments to AWOL personnel during the period. The auditors warned that the Army had not instituted adequate internal controls to prevent benefits and compensation from being paid to personnel not properly on duty, the Associated Press notes.
In their report, the auditors called the payments “unacceptable,” given the current squeeze on the Army’s finances. The audit’s findings come as the military is adjusting its budgets to accommodate reduced federal spending due to sequestration.
The U.S. Army managed a $44 billion payroll this year. In 2012, 466 personnel from all military services were declared AWOL.
A review in 2006 uncovered $684,000 in inappropriate payments to 68 AWOL service members.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Navy’s stunt-flying team, the Blue Angels, said that it was canceling performances for the rest of the year due to sequester funding cuts.
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