Pentagon ignores watchdog calls for $33.6 billion savings

The Department of Defense's failure to act on recommendations from its own watchdog may have cost $33.6 billion, a new report says.

The Pentagon's Inspector General's Office released a 458-page report last week that detailed how the Department of Defense responded to 288 Inspector General audits that went back as far as 2006. The report concluded that the Pentagon addressed very few problem areas and may have cost itself and American taxpayers $33.6 billion in wasteful spending.

The costliest example provided in the report listed the Marine Corps purchase of the CH-53K helicopter. The military branch planned to buy 44 more helicopters than it needed in 2013, according to the IG, costing taxpayers an additional $22.2 billion.

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One of the meeting rooms where US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other senior US military officials conduct confidential meetings is seen inside the Pentagon, February 14, 2012, in Washington, DC. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
People walk through a newly-renovated corridor at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. It took 17 years and $4.5 billion to complete the Pentagon makeover, the first full-scale renovation of one of the world's largest office buildings. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A newly-renovated corridor leading to a ramp is seen at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Ramps were used instead of elevators to connect floors in the original construction of the Pentagon in order to conserve steel. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A memorial to fallen soldiers is seen at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. It took 17 years and $4.5 billion to complete the Pentagon makeover, the first full-scale renovation of one of the world's largest office buildings. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People sit in the newly-renovated food court at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. It took 17 years and $4.5 billion to complete the Pentagon makeover, the first full-scale renovation of one of the world's largest office buildings. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Department of Defense workers sit in the newly-renovated food court at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. It took 17 years and $4.5 billion to complete the Pentagon makeover, the first full-scale renovation of one of the world's largest office buildings. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A memorial for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks stands at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. The Sept. 11 attack killed 184 people, including 125 in the building and 59 on American Airlines Flight 77, and destroyed nearly all of the progress on the overhaul of the first wedge. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A newly-renovated corridor leading to a ramp is seen at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. Ramps were used instead of elevators to connect floors in the original construction of the Pentagon in order to conserve steel. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A worker stands inside the newly-renovated dining room at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. It took 17 years and $4.5 billion to complete the Pentagon makeover, the first full-scale renovation of one of the world's largest office buildings. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People sit in the newly-renovated food court at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. It took 17 years and $4.5 billion to complete the Pentagon makeover, the first full-scale renovation of one of the world's largest office buildings. Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg via Getty Images
ARLINGTON, VA - May 17: Anzus Corridor in A-Ring in the new Pentagon renovation, Tuesday May 17, 2011. (Photo by Dayna Smith/for the Washington Post)
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Despite the IG's warning against the purchase, the Marine Corps went ahead with the acquisition.

The Department of Defense did not respond to requests for comment.

Some of that money can still be recovered if the department follows 58 of the IG's suggestions that contain "associated potential monetary benefits," though the report, released Thursday, notes that a number of those opportunities may have passed.

"We believe that [the Department of Defense] senior managers should focus attention on the 1,298 open recommendations and ensure that prompt resolution and action is taken," the report said.

The Pentagon "agreed to take corrective action on 1,251" of the recommendations, according to Acting Inspector General Glenn Fine.

Related:ISIS Leader in Afghanistan Killed in Airstrike, Pentagon Says

As of March 31, when the office concluded its overview, 832 recommendations had been pending for more than a year, 109 had languished for more than three years and two had gathered dust for more than a decade.

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MQ-9 Reaper drones
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flies by during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Pentagon has plans to expand combat air patrols flights by remotely piloted aircraft by as much as 50 percent over the next few years to meet an increased need for surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal airstrikes in more areas around the world. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) An MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flies past a MQ-9 Reaper RPA as it taxis during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Pentagon has plans to expand combat air patrols flights by remotely piloted aircraft by as much as 50 percent over the next few years to meet an increased need for surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal airstrikes in more areas around the world. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) flies by during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Pentagon has plans to expand combat air patrols flights by remotely piloted aircraft by as much as 50 percent over the next few years to meet an increased need for surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal airstrikes in more areas around the world. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is prepared for a training mission at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Pentagon has plans to expand combat air patrols flights by remotely piloted aircraft by as much as 50 percent over the next few years to meet an increased need for surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal airstrikes in more areas around the world. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) taxis during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Pentagon has plans to expand combat air patrols flights by remotely piloted aircraft by as much as 50 percent over the next few years to meet an increased need for surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal airstrikes in more areas around the world. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) An MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) taxis during a training mission at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Pentagon has plans to expand combat air patrols flights by remotely piloted aircraft by as much as 50 percent over the next few years to meet an increased need for surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal airstrikes in more areas around the world. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, NV - AUGUST 08: U.S. Air Force Maj. Casey Tidgewell inspects an MQ-9 Reaper as he performs a pre-flight check August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force's first 'hunter-killer' unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly for up to 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can fly twice as fast and high as the smaller MQ-1 Predators, reaching speeds of 300 mph at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft are flown by a pilot and a sensor operator from ground control stations. The Reapers are expected to be used in combat operations by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq within the next year. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Capt. Ryan Jodoi, a UAV pilot, flies an MQ-9 Reaper while Airman 1st Class Patrick Snyder controls a full motion video camera at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, March 13, 2009, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.) (Photo by JAMES LEE HARPER JR./USAirForce/Handout/Corbis via Getty Images)
CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, NV - AUGUST 08: U.S. Air Force Maj. Casey Tidgewell pilots an MQ-9 Reaper on a training mission from a ground control station August 8, 2007 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Reaper is the Air Force's first 'hunter-killer' unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), designed to engage time-sensitive targets on the battlefield as well as provide intelligence and surveillance. The jet-fighter sized Reapers are 36 feet long with 66-foot wingspans and can fly for up to 14 hours fully loaded with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles. They can fly twice as fast and high as the smaller MQ-1 Predators, reaching speeds of 300 mph at an altitude of up to 50,000 feet. The aircraft are flown by a pilot and a sensor operator from ground control stations. The Reapers are expected to be used in combat operations by the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq within the next year. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
INDIAN SPRINGS, NV - NOVEMBER 17: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) Two remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), an MQ-1B Predator (L) and an MQ-9 Reaper, are parked in a hanger at Creech Air Force Base on November 17, 2015 in Indian Springs, Nevada. The Pentagon has plans to expand combat air patrols flights by remotely piloted aircraft by as much as 50 percent over the next few years to meet an increased need for surveillance, reconnaissance and lethal airstrikes in more areas around the world. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
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The second-highest dollar amount in waste came from the Air Force's purchase of $8.8 billion worth of MQ-9 Reaper drones. The IG said it was a waste as the Air Force had spent the same amount on the drones in previous years.

Despite the admitted losses, the report also made a few suggestions that could save the Department of Defense money in the future — if the recommendations are followed. Some of that information, particularly reports related to the F-35 program and Cyber Command, was classified and redacted from the public version of the report.

One example of a problem that the IG's office said is fixable but remains unaddressed since its audit is how Tricare, the military health insurance, is managed overseas. An April 2014 audit concluded that the insurance provider pays its overseas contractors whatever it is billed instead of negotiating rates. This mean that $21.1 million in 2009 payments ballooned to $63.8 million in 2013.

Of the service branches: the Army maintains 274 open recommendations; the Air Force hasn't addressed 166 recommendations; and the Navy carries the fewest at 148.

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