Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to increase military spending and bring our defense infrastructure to a higher standard, but a new Washington Post investigation suggests that improving the military may need to start with some serious fiscal streamlining. It doesn’t make sense to throw more taxpayer money at any agency – even the Pentagon – if they’re already wasting the money they have. And if this report is true, they’re not only wasting it, they’re desperately trying to cover it up.
From the report:
The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.
Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.
The study in question, produced by a federal advisory panel called the Defense Business Board, was released in January of last year. The report advised the Pentagon on a “clear path” to save $125 billion over the next five years – a path that would not require the Defense Department to lay off workers. Rather, the panel recommended efficient measures like encouraging early retirements, eliminating high-cost contractors, and improving the agency’s use of information tech.
According to the Post, the report had its admirers within the military leadership since a savings of more than a billion dollars could be re-routed into purchasing equipment, modernizing the nuclear triad, and paying the troops. But ultimately, Pentagon leaders decided that if the report were made public, Congress would have ammunition to cut the defense budget. They chose to suppress the report, a decision that is now coming back to haunt them.
It’s fantasy to expect federal bureaucracies to operate with private-sector efficiency, but there comes a point when someone needs to step in and put an end to all of this waste. Even if streamlining the Pentagon didn’t result in a single tax break for Americans, we could at least put those tax dollars to better use.
This is yet another example of how poorly President Obama has managed the executive branch. And it’s another reason why we need someone with some real-world experience in the White House.