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State Audit Office audits military expenditures: spending planning needs to be improved

Significant resources allocated to the defense sector have been spent in line with objectives, but lacking long-term vision and planning for military capability development – such conclusions were made by the State Audit Office after four years of defense audits. Audit Details The State Audit Office does not disclose, however, that much of the explanatory information is limited.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Latvia's defense budget has grown significantly and now stands at 600m euros annually. The State Audit Office today reported on its defense sector audits in the last four years.

"The funding that goes into developing defense capabilities is really being used and going into defense. (..) Funding "falls" into the "pocket" where it is intended, "said Ilse Grenhofa, a member of the State Audit Office Council.

However, the procurement details of the Auditor General of the Ministry of Defense comment cautiously, saying that much of the information found during audits is limited to information and therefore not fully disclosed.

The State Audit Office points out problems in planning military development. The weakness of procurement in the defense industry is the lack of long-term vision. The State Audit Office has stated this on several occasions: "(..) the whole life cycle is not known prior to the acquisition of equipment – maintenance, maintenance and storage costs, additional skills needed for staff, how to integrate new procurement into existing ones"

One example is the procurement of weapons systems last year, which was done in a hurry, without proper evaluation and training of staff. Therefore, there is a risk that the € 5.5 million purchased weapons system will not be used effectively. "If his system stays in stock and no one does anything about it, it will be a waste of money, but for the moment we cannot say it is ineffective. Because the system can still be used, "says Greenhoff.

It is a Danish anti-aircraft missile system designed to destroy flying objects. "This technique is not available. These are weapons systems where we trained the instructors and these instructors continue to train the unit to use this technique, "said Janice Garrison, secretary of state at the defense ministry.

The defense ministry is promising a full deployment of anti-aircraft equipment within about a year. The Danish missile system was quickly bought because at that time it was possible to buy Stinger at a particularly attractive price, the ministry explained. "This was a case of very cheap weapon systems that we decided to buy at the time. Sure, you can wait for this for a long time, but then it will be countless times more expensive, "says Garrison.

The State Audit Office points to other deficiencies discovered. In 2017, due to poor planning, the National Guard's individual equipment was missing. Also used used British warriors purchased for maintenance and repair. However, there is no basis for the proper maintenance of these armored vehicles.

The Ministry of Defense is committed to implementing all recommendations made by the State Audit Office. Currently, 25 of the 48 recommendations have been implemented.

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