If A Dollar Falls in The Pentagon…

If A Dollar Falls in The Pentagon…

One of the more ingenious arguments against Defense Secretary Robert Gates program cuts and efficiencies was raised today after the  House Armed Services Committee hearing. It went something like that old philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest but there is no one there to hear it, is there a noise?”

For years, Pentagon officials have admitted that they really don’t know where their money is going because their financial systems just aren’t good enough to be audited with any hope of retuning results in which one might have a high degree of confidence.

So Rep.  Randy Forbes, chairman of the HASC readiness subcommittee took the interesting leap of arguing that, since the Pentagon doesn’t really know where it’s money is being spent, then maybe it shouldn’t try to talk about efficiencies.

“If the Department of Defense does not know where our defense dollars are going, how then are they qualified to talk about efficiencies? Furthermore, if the Department of Defense does not even have mechanisms in place to perform the audits, how are they able to comply with the law? Finally, if all agencies are required to perform regular audits, how is the Department of Defense able to skirt this compliance? If we want to get serious about efficiencies, we need to first make it clear that the Department of Defense is not above the law, and, second, demand to know where our defense dollars are going,” he said in a statement after this morning’s hearing.

Forbes was joined in skepticism about the Pentagon plan’s by his chairman, Rep. Buck McKeon: “I remain dismayed, despite repeated assurances from the Department about an interest to work together on these issues, that we have seen little change in the Department’s willingness to share information and work with us.”

McKeon said he agreed with Gates “that we must scrutinize defense programs to ensure we are getting the most bang for our buck and concentrating our limited resources on the highest priority programs.  I support initiatives focused on reducing waste, streamlining operations, and eliminating redundancies across all enterprises.”

But he would not support any moves that “will leave our military less capable and less ready to fight.”

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn told the committee the proposed cuts would not reduce U.S. war capabilities.

The committee’s Republicans clearly are rankled that Gates may have — once again — outmaneuvered Congress and left it with little recourse but to stand publicly against the administration’s decisions and make their own in law.

The committee’s senior Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith,  was unsurprisingly more supportive of the Obama administration’s approach, saying it was “a good first step.”

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The Pentagon is an embarrasment in this respect. Why doesn’t the Congress do something about this?

I think you know very well why. The money is just too damn good.

This proposal from Rep. Forbes strikes me as simple duplicity. These Congressional Republicans don’t give a flip about making the books add up, they’re throwing up a roadblock that will make reform impossible for a few more years. The Democrats don’t care either, they’re profiting too, but everyone has their role to play here. Just keep the cash moving.

Like Bill says — lets just steal the money from the government.
The whole mentality has shifted into trying to scam as much as possible.

You folks are blind on the DoD budget. Some waste yes, but for the most part, it is solid.

Oh? The DoD Budget is not audit ready, doesn’t have to be until Sept 30, 2017. So it’s solid you say? Prove it.

Go find somewhere else to fight with him, you make more clutter than points. Shoo.

Another way to look at this is to cut the DoD budget to a level that can be traceable.

Or hire the right kind of people, give them the resources they need and empower them and then hold them accountable.

Solid? The deficit commission said cut $100 billion a year (going back to FY 2000 levels when we were fighting the Soviet Empire). That’s more than enough to keep current and fight two minor skirmishes.

In 2000 there wasn’t any Soviet Empire to fight…

So wanting our tax dollars to go towards maintaining and modernizing our military is stealing from the government? I guess anybody with an income is stealing from the government in the eyes of Oblat.

For obama, major defence cuts serve two purposes. First, they free up funds for things important to him – such as growing the welfare state. Secondly, the cuts reduce the role of America in the world and limits America’s ability to combat threats to allies and vital interests which facilitates his anti-colonial anti-American Leftist worldview that America is basically a negative force in the world for its opposition to “progressive” movements.

Obama’s proposed cuts need to be seen as what they truly are. It’s not about controlling spending—it’s about minimizing the role of America in the world.

‘the government’ has no money except for what it takes from those who earn it.

Obamas goal I to redistribute that money away from core constitutional requirements such as defense to his lazy good for his idiot voters such his illegal aunt who lives in public housing.

Exactly, but the defense budget hadn’t decreased to reflect that. So we can take the defense budget more than just $78 billion over five years.

Achilles to Patroclus “If it’s fighting you still long for, there will always be another war.” In the same vein, there will always be another enemy or alliance of enemies that we must deter. i.e. Iran-N. Korea-China-Venezuela and the Islamic fascists/terrorists groups.

The DoD budget in FY90 when we had 2.2 million troops: $293 billion (1990 dollars)
The DoD budget in FY93 when we were quickly on our way down to 1.7 million troops: $267 billion

Personnel strength decline: 20%
Budgets declined over those 3 years by 3%, 10%, and 8%

In 1990 dollars, the FY93 budget was 11% less than the FY90 budget. Adjusted to 2011 dollars, the FY93 DoD budget was cut a total of 16% from the FY90 budget.

The DoD budget was cut even further in FY94 with personnel strength dropping by 25% of FY90.

To sum up, yes the defense budget dropped to reflect the end of the Cold War. Dollar-wise it could have dropped further but then-SecDef Cheney lost a few budget battles with Congressmen who wanted to save weapons programs in their districts. We’re already hearing the same tune from the same people. When Gates announced the possible cancellation of the EFV, Senator Brown of Ohio said he’d love to help Gates trim the budget, but only if Ohio didn’t have to sacrifice anything…

Rep. Forbes’ argument is misguided. If he really does want to know “where the money is being spent,” he can examine the DOD’s annual budget submission, which will tell him everything he — and every other member of Congress — needs to know about how DOD is spending its money. “Audited financial statements” are not needed to do that, as any competent cost accountant will attest. Rep McKeon (and ALL of his colleagues in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike) could do the country a great service by knocking off the political posturing and supporting the efforts that Secy Gates and his team are making to improve the DOD’s efficiency.

To the poster “BradM”

You wrote: “In the same vein, there will always be another enemy or alliance of enemies that we must deter.”

Not for us Euros. We don’t fight anymore. We’re tired of it.

Good Morning Folks,

I do enjoy the outrage here, but reality is that this story has been around since 1775 and will be around in 2075. Corruption, waste and mis-management seem just to be a part of military bureaucracies.

To Francis. None of the information in the recent Daily Teaspoon columns on Tunisia came from wikiLeaks. I don’t need that source, I have much better sources.

To other readers questions. The US got it right this time President Obama dispatched additional assets to the Mediterranean and the US Sixth Fleet. Two CSG’s is a problem as the PRC would say.

The Europeans were caught, as usual wanting, and they were the one caught with a “crisis” in their neighborhood.

The US has taken control and managed events so far very well. Will Islamic governments collapse in the area?

The Europeans have to be content to sit on the side lines and watch the US, of course they are going to complain.

I think some will. Other countries that are at risk are still remaining silent such as Syria and Libya.

To Sweetie. The Republicans have been noticeably silent on what is happening in the Med. because the president acted in an aggressive and deceive manner. This is what Power Projection is, acting not jaw boning.


Byron Skinner

Yet Islamic terrorists still continue to target places like Germany, UK, Spain, Italy.…

You could almost venture to say, is any federal program audit ready ? Not just DoD budget.

The reality is, if our defense spending continues at present levels or increases substantially, it is insufficient to keep up with the increasing cost of our weapons. If we continue to buy weapons the way we do now, then our best days are behind us. We will continue to become more vulnerable as the years go by. This should come as no surprise. We continue to pay contractors more to screw us than we do to if they provide good working weapons on time and on budget. Making the weapon better doesn’t get these contractors any more profit, but making it take longer to design does! Are there any capitalists out there? Guess where all the innovation in weapons development is today? I’d be surprised if 10% of Americans could figure out that the innovation is where the incentives are, that is to say explicitly, the innovation is all in how to drag out development and make it cost more.

“There is no mystery why the increased spending has led to shrinking, aging hardware inventories. New weapons systems cost three to ten times more to buy and operate than the weapons they are replacing.” — http://​www​.counterpunch​.org/​c​h​r​i​s​t​i​e​1​1​1​9​2​0​1​0​.​h​tml

Well, maybe, but specifically the DoD has gotten a 27 year reprieve from complying with the CFO Act of 1990 by repeatedly failing to comply. Look up Financial Improvement & Audit Readiness (FIAR) to see where things stand.

Can you name any other federal agencies that got that deal?

Let’s see…your math doesn’t seem to add up…2011–1990=21 years…hhmmm…sounds like some of that number crunching you just espoused is inaccurate as well! Therefore your argument is invalid. Next topic.…

Gee how about Botox Pelosi using Air Force jets as her private airlines to the tune of $2.5M for two years? In addition to her having over $250K in personal expenses which included dark chocolate strawberries for her Birthday at the tax payers expense?

If you go look up “FIAR”, or you’d read up the page to my other post that references “Sept 30, 2017″, I think you’ll get everything to add up.

Show some self-esteem, stop conveying classical Neocon Propaganda. No one else but you U.S. Americans do that.

There are no “terrorists” anywhere.

Regardless of whether or not the Pentagon’s budget is decreased or increased there is one factor in the equation which is overlooked to our collective peril: our troop strength. I talk to young returning veterans of Iraq & Afghanistan, some of whom suffer from PTSD & they individually were subject to multiple deployments with abbreviated breaks for retraining & recuperation. No matter how many weapons systems we purchase, if there is no soldier on the ground to fire or to operate them, they are wasted. I also am nearly apoplectic @ the numerous systems which fail to perform as originally billed after redesign, delay in delivery — and my most favorite bete noire– cost overruns! Does anyone remember the disaster that was the M-16? God only knows how many troops died because the gun jammed in firefights. Read Wired for War if you think today’s systems are superior. And for more basic weaponry talk to surviving infantrymen who denigrate the M-4 and others.

They’re called accountants & they should be allowed to perform independent audits of contracts, bills & performance without fear of being terminated if they discover waste & fraud. Yes, somewhat along the lines of an independent prosecutor.


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