$21 Trillion Missing from US Federal Budget

by Vins
Published: Updated:

A whopping $21 trillion was found to be missing from the US federal budget as of this past year. Michigan State University professor Mark Skidmore and a group of graduate students made the discovery after overhearing a government official say that the 2016 report by the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General (DoDIG) indicated $6.5 trillion in adjustments had not been adequately documented. Attempting to uncover the reasoning behind these adjustments, Skidmore began to dig deeper. He says, “I tried to call and talk to the office of the Inspector General to talk to the people who helped generate these reports. I haven’t been successful, and I stopped trying when they disabled the links.”

Despite disabled links and neglect from officials, the verification of over $6T inspired Skidmore and his students to comb through thousands of Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports for 1998-2015. Regarding his findings Skidmore stated, “This is incomplete, but we have found $21 trillion in adjustments over that period. The biggest chunk is for the Army. We were able to find 13 of the 17 years and we found about $11.5 trillion just for the Army.” While it is known that the US government engages in unauthorized spending and black budgets, quantities this large abuse basic Constitutional and legislative requirements on spending.

Shortly after Skidmore’s findings went public, the Pentagon announced the first ever audit of the Department of Defense (DoD). Despite having $2.2 trillion in assets and billions of dollars flowing through each year, the DoD has famously never been audited. The audits are set to begin in 2018 and occur annually. Defense Department’s Comptroller David L. Norquist is confident that the audits will benefit DoD’s management of tax dollars and establish confidence in Congress as well as the American people.

In addition to depriving the public of access to US financial accounting reports by disabling links, the Department of Defense’s clever implementation of an audit bent this twisted act into a positive endeavor for DoD in the eyes of the public. Apart from Forbes’ brief report on the adjustments and NPR’s recognition of the first audit, US corporate media has failed to recount any of the details concerning the shocking findings of Mark Skidmore’s research.


Greg Hunter, “Missing $21 Trillion Means Federal Government Is Lawless – Dr. Mark Skidmore,” USAWatchdog, December 3, 2017, https://usawatchdog.com/missing-21-trillion-means-federal-government-is-lawless-dr-mark-skidmore/

“$21 trillion of unauthorized spending by US govt discovered by economics professor.” RT, December 16, 2017, https://www.rt.com/usa/413411-trillions-dollars-missing-research/

Student Researcher: Andrea Fekete (North Central College)

Faculty Evaluator: Steve Macek (North Central College)

Editor’s Note: For previous Project Censored coverage of related stories, see “Over Six Trillion Dollars in Unaccountable Army Spending,” story #2 in Censored 2018, https://www.projectcensored.org/2-six-trillion-dollars-unaccountable-army-spending/; and “Pentagon Awash in Money Despite Serious Audit Problems,” story #12 in Censored 2015, https://www.projectcensored.org/12-pentagon-awash-money-despite-serious-audit-problems/.