The headline, although it sounds like a joke, is completely, 100 percent serious. The government issued a study to study a study done on government studies.

We’ll give you a second to figure that one out.

“The Pentagon was inundated with so many studies in 2010 that it commissioned a study to determine how much it cost to produce all those studies,” Alyssa Newcomb writes for ABC News.

But now the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has finished a study of the Pentagon’s study of studies and found it to be “lacking.”

“The study of a study of studies began in 2010 when Defense Secretary Robert Gates complained that his department was ‘awash in taskings for reports and studies,’” Newcomb reports, “He wanted to know how much they cost.”

But here we are in 2012 and the Pentagon review is still “ongoing” and it’s for this reason (because it seemed like they weren’t making any headway) Congress tasked the GAO with reviewing the Pentagon’s review.

The conclusion in the GAO report doesn’t reflect very well on the Pentagon.

“The GAO found only nine studies that had been scrutinized by the Pentagon review, but the military was unable to ‘readily retrieve documentation’ for six of the reports,” Newcomb reports.

The Department of Defense’s “approach is not fully consistent with relevant cost estimating best practices and cost accounting standards,” the GAO report claims. In fact, according to the report, the Pentagon study oftentimes excluded crucial costs including manpower.

“The Pentagon ‘partially concurs’ with the GAO’s report,” Newcomb writes, “The cost of the study of the study of the studies was not available from the GAO.”

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