Pentagon Audit Uncovers Uncertainty In Funding Chinese Biological Research

A recent audit by the Department of Defense (DOD) inspector general has revealed uncertainties regarding whether the Pentagon is still funding biological research in China. The findings come four years after the outbreak of COVID-19, which has heightened scrutiny over such funding.

According to Just The News, the Pentagon inspector general’s report indicates that the DOD lacks detailed tracking of its funding. The report states, “The DOD did not track funding at the level of detail necessary to determine whether the DOD provided funding to Chinese research laboratories or other foreign countries for research related to enhancement of pathogens of pandemic potential.”

This issue was initially highlighted two years ago by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Their report, issued on September 29, 2022, warned that defense officials were unable to account for how funds sent to China for biological research were utilized. The GAO found significant data limitations that prevented a thorough examination of DOD funds allocated for pathogen research.

The new report is likely to increase skepticism regarding DOD funding for China, particularly amid concerns about “gain-of-function” research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Gain-of-function research involves experiments designed to make microorganisms more potent, potentially increasing their transmissibility.

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) has been vocal about the need for greater accountability within the DOD. “The Department of Defense should defend the nation, not support research with the potential to do us harm,” Ernst stated. She criticized the lack of oversight, noting that taxpayer funds should not be advancing the interests of adversaries like China.

Despite the concerns raised, Pentagon officials maintain that they have not knowingly funded research that could enhance pathogens. They asserted to the inspector general that from 2014 to 2023, the DOD did not actively participate in or knowingly fund such experiments.