Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Increase in Military Budget Unneeded

A recent column in our local paper decried cuts in military spending. However, once you take away the fact the author is a right wingnut who's been moaning about Obama since his first day in office, there's really not much of substance there.

The fact is our military, while great at protecting us from harm, is lousy at managing money. They're awash in cash. As of 2013, the base defense budget had soared from $287 billion to $530 billion since 2001 - not even accounting for the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here are just a few examples of rampant waste and sloppy money management by the US armed forces:

A GAO investigation revealed the Department of Defense purchased $16 billion of ammo it didn't need - and then spent $1 billion to destroy it because it had become unusable or was banned from use by international treaty.

The Pentagon can't account for all of the over $300 million a year allotted to funding the Afghan National Police.

The US donated $500 million worth of weapons to Yemen that subsequently vanished.

Federal contractors performing aircraft maintenance overcharged the government hundreds of millions of dollars by fudging their work hours and ignoring safety requirements.

The Department of Defense spent half a billion dollars on planes for the Afghan Air Force, and then sold most of them for scrap at pennies on the dollar - a paltry $32,000.

All these examples are just a sampling of the incompetent management of taxpayer dollars prevalent throughout our armed forces. Shouldn't the agency with the largest federal budget be able to track and justify its spending to the American people? It's rather ironic they've also wasted billions on accounting software that apparently can't do the job.

The solution is not to throw more money at the problem. The solution is to hold the Department of Defense accountable.

Our armed forces on the ground actually keeping us safe - and we, the taxpayers - deserve answers.

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