Nor does it cover all of DFAS's
Nor does it cover all of DFAS's $1 billion-plus budget.The issue has yet to garner much attention in the political arena, despite continuing debate over the U. government's deficits and efforts to restore fiscal order.||
Nor does it cover all of DFAS's $1 billion-plus budget.
The issue has yet to garner much attention in the political arena, despite continuing debate over the U. government's deficits and efforts to restore fiscal order.
And then you have to fight to get the money back." Aiken's injuries made that fight more difficult.
He limped from office to office to press his case to an unyielding bureaucracy. (and) they would treat him as if he was like a bad soldier," says Monica.
For all its errors, Pentagon record-keeping is an expensive endeavor. 30, the Defense Department requested $17.3 billion to operate, maintain and modernize the more than 2,200 systems it uses to manage finances, human resources, logistics, property, and weapons acquisitions, according to an April 2012 GAO report.
That amount does not include billions of dollars more in each of the military services' "operations and maintenance" budgets used for upkeep of the systems.
More immediately, the mess in Pentagon pay in particular carries implications for national security.
In its December 2012 report, the GAO recognized that fielding soldiers burdened with pay errors "may pose financial hardship for the soldiers and detract from their focus on mission." Officers complain that the difficulty of keeping track of personnel makes it harder to deploy men and women in times of war. Fallon says that while serving in 20 as chief of the U. Central Command, overseeing joint military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, he had to maintain "an incredibly bloated staff" from each of the services to keep him informed of the numbers and availability of troops.billion-plus budget.The issue has yet to garner much attention in the political arena, despite continuing debate over the U. government's deficits and efforts to restore fiscal order.
The Pentagon agency that identified the overpayments, clawed them back and resisted Aiken's pleas for explanation and redress is the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, or DFAS (pronounced "DEE-fass").With short-term and long-term memory loss, he struggled to keep appointments and remember key dates and events. "They weren't compassionate." They were also wrong.The money the military took back from Aiken resulted from accounting and other errors, and it should have been his to keep. Aiken, then 30 years old, was in his second month of physical and psychological reconstruction at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, after two tours of combat duty had left him shattered.It had started that October, when he received ,337.56, instead of his normal monthly take-home pay of about ,300. At the time, Aiken was living off base with his fiancee, Monica, and her toddler daughter, while sharing custody of his two children with his ex-wife. Not insurgents in Iraq, or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan - enemies he had already encountered with distinguished bravery. But the problem that loomed largest that holiday season was different. The Defense Department was withholding big chunks of his pay. Beyond that, "they couldn't even tell me what the debts were from," he says. Army medic Shawn Aiken was once again locked in desperate battle with a formidable foe. His war-related afflictions included traumatic brain injury, severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), abnormal eye movements due to nerve damage, chronic pain, and a hip injury. All Aiken knew was that the Defense Department was taking back money it claimed he owed."It is an incredibly inefficient, wasteful way of doing business," he says.This way of doing business has also proved resistant to change.The couple was desperate from "just not knowing where food's going to come from," he says."They just hit one button and they take your whole paycheck away.