Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cut Defense Department Wasteful Spending Before Cutting Defense

While President Obama is going through his usual drama routine of exaggerating a given situation, this time by ordering that an Aircraft Carrier is to stay in port instead of deploy "because of budget cuts" due to the sequester, others are calling a spade a spade and telling it like it really is.

"It's absurd to think that the government cannot get by with a little more than a 2 percent reduction in spending when every working American had to figure out how to make do with 2 percent less in their paychecks just last month," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, referring to the recent expiration of a payroll tax cut for millions of Americans.

That 2 percent reduction in spending seems to be a huge blister on Obama's butt. One that he just can't sit for.

But really, why not? Many Americans want to know why?

Fact is that the DOD has a monstrous $629 Billion annual budget and a huge chunk of that goes to dubious projects that no one can justify as being defense expenses - or even defense related.

For instance, just last year, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released a report detailing where the Department of Defense could save $67.9 Billion over ten years in "non defense" spending.


He called out the Department of Defense on wasteful spending ahead of tough cuts that could come as part of the fiscal cliff deal reached last month.

Now those cuts would go into effect on Friday and would immediately slash $85 billion from the federal rolls split between the Department of Defense and other national programs grouped together.
This is an effort to trim the national debt.  For instance, the senator’s probe reveals that the Pentagon funded $6 billion in studies that have little or nothing to do with national defense or medical needs related to military service.

So how what took place? Well, during his investigation regarding Department of Defense waste, he and his staff uncovered a great deal by asking three simple questions:

• Does the mission of this program or agency directly relate to the mission of the Department of Defense?

• Does another federal agency or government or private entity already provide the services provided by this program or agency?

• Could these resources be better targeted towards higher priority defense needs, such as taking care of troops on the front lines or reducing our $16 trillion national debt?

What he and his staff found was merely a smattering, a skimming, a “starting point for reviewing Pentagon spending that is unnecessary, wasteful or simply not related to defense.”

He calls this wasteful spending a “rising tide of the red [ink] menace.”

Here is some of what the Coburn's investigation uncovered:

• $9 billion is spent each year on supporting stateside grocery stores, Commissaries. This includes Pentagon-run grocery stores here in the United States. $9 Billion is spent each year on Pentagon-run grocery stores here in the United States.

• The Pentagon also runs its own subsidized liquor stores on bases across the country. But it doesn't stop there, the Pentagon also runs its own microbreweries. And yes, there is one in Fort Sill Oklahoma.

• The Department of Defense (DOD) funded research examining what the behavior of fish can teach us about democracy.

• The Department of Defense funded development of a smart phone app to alert users when to take a coffee break.

• The Department of Defense funded research examining how to make silk production from wild cocoons in Africa and South America.

• The Department of Defense Funded a study that concluded people in New York use different jargon on Twitter than those living in California.

• Eight full time DOD employees serve on Board of Geographic Names, in charge of naming streams, mountains, hills, and plains across the United States.

8. The Department of Defense funded reality cooking show called Grill it Safe featuring two “Grill Sergeants” who performed a 46-minute cooking video.

• The Department of Defense funded beef jerky development. Specifically, the project aimed at making "thin, rolled up" beef jerky from a company in France.

• The Department of Defense funded research examining the social interaction between robots and babies.

• The Department of Defense has spent over $1,000,000 on workshops studying interstellar space travel.

And believe it or not, those conferences asked such important National Security questions, as: "What will interstellar explorers wear?” And, are you ready for this one, “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?”

• The Department of Defense funded a study that determined "a man holding a gun appears more masculine than he would otherwise."

• The Department of Defense funded research to conclude that Petri most likely had feathers.

What is Petri you ask? Well, its a dinosaur that flies.

Archaeopteryx, which existed 150 million years ago and long considered to be the first bird, probably had black feathers which may have helped it fly, according to research funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

• $15.2 billion spent on education. These include programs to educate children of military families in the US, as well as programs that duplicate the work of the Department of Education and local school districts. It also includes college funding for military members on active duty and duplicates the work of the Department of Veterans Affairs.The Department of Defense spends $10.7 billion on education programs that duplicate the work of the Department of Education and local school districts.

They operated special schools. The report shows how one such military school in Dahlgren Virginia is less than one mile away from a public school.

These special schools operated at a cost of over $50,000 per student.

Imagine that for a moment, $50,000 per student. In contrast, the Department of Education has found the average annual cost per student in America is $11,000 per student.

• $37 billion spent on “overhead, support and supply service” unrelated to the DOD’s primary purpose. This includes more than 300,000 members of the military service performing civilian-type jobs.

The Pentagon's overhead, or desk job budget, is more than the entire GDP of Israel.

• $6 billion spent on non-military research and development. These are research projects that have little or nothing to do with national defense, according to the report.
• $700 million spent on developing “alternative energy.” This includes duplicative and unnecessary alternative energy research being done by the Department of Energy.

Instead of having President Obama tell the American people that we can't afford to put an Aircraft Carrier out to sea because of the upcoming Sequester, the DOD should eliminate:

• Get rid of the 8 full time employees who serve on the Board of Geographic Names, which names streams, mountains, hills, and plains across the United States. No exactly what you think of when you think of a Defense job.

• Get rid of the DOD production company that is producing those 46-minute video productions called Grill It Safe featuring “grill sergeants” showing off their own recipes

• Save $1 million by stopping the workshops studying interstellar space travel. We don't need to spend money one what people will wear on a space ship to another solar system

• Get rid of the program that spends $1.5 million to procure beef jerky advancements from France

• Do as the British did last year, stop redundancy. We can save $6 billion on questionable, duplicative and unnecessary research, including $5.2 million to determine what lessons about democracy and social decision-making could be learned from fish.

We should fire whoever came up with the idea of finding out what lessons about democracy and social decision-making could be learned from fish. He or she should be fired.

Why fire him, or her? Simple, we don't need people in the federal government who have no care or concern as to how much money they are spending on bullshit like that jackass project of trying to study "democracy and social decision-making" of fish.

The Department of Defense invested part of its budget in more than 100 renewable energy-related projects in 2010, even more than the Department of Energy itself, and with similar results: “Many of these DOD renewable energy projects were so poorly planned, they failed to be cost effective or even produce [any] power, wasting millions of national security dollars.”


The DOD duplicated work done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), doing research “into the very same diseases already being studied by [them].”

The DOD also duplicated work done by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). From the report:

For example, the Navy recently funded research examining what the behavior of fish can teach us about democracy while also developing an app to alert iPhone users when the best time is to take a coffee break.

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research funded a study last year examining how to make it easier to produce silk from wild [silkmoth] cocoons in Africa and South America.

Both the Navy and the Air Force funded a study that concluded people in New York use different jargon on Twitter than those living in California.

This has to stop!
Americans are tired of the waste. And the federal government is ripe with scammers and con artist who see the Department of Defense stupid enough to spend taxpayer dollars on anything and everything - including that that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the defense of our nation.

Obama and others can cry a river of tears because their political donors are going to be left high and dry when the proposed $85 billion is not in their greedy little hands.

And yes, I think its treasonous of Obama to not fulfill his duties as Commander-In-Chief all because money won't be going to study "democracy and social decision-making" of fish - and other worthless programs like that.


Someone should take a hard look at what Senator Tom Corburn's investigation uncovered. Some should be asking why?   Why is the Department of Defense spending our tax dollars on crap that has nothing to do with Defense of our nation?
Senator Coburn sent the following letter to the DOD outlining his requests:

Dr. Ashton B. Carter
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Dr. Carter:

Thank you for your service to our nation as the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Like the rest of the federal government, including Congress, the Department of Defense (DOD) will be required to make financial decisions to reduce spending as a result of sequestration. While there is no greater role for the federal government than to defend our nation, our citizens, and our rights and liberties, I believe Pentagon spending can be trimmed in a responsible manner without putting our nation at danger or leaving troops unprepared.

Some have suggested sequestration will require furloughing DOD civilian employees supporting our troops in combat or halting all training for units not deploying to a combat zone. Before any of these more drastic actions are taken there are a number of ways the Pentagon could achieve savings that do not harm our national security readiness or our troops or DOD personnel performing vital military functions.

Rather than furloughing essential personnel, DOD could eliminate other unnecessary jobs that have little if anything to do with defense. For example, there are at least eight Pentagon employees who serve on the Board of Geographic Names, which names streams, mountains, hills, and plains across the United States. The Pentagon has also joined the cooking show craze by partnering with the Department of Agriculture to produce a reality cooking show called Grill It Safe featuring two Grill Sergeants showing off their own “delicious recipes suitable for cooking outdoors” in a 46-minute video. While Navy is reducing training in four air wings, the Pentagon recently spent more than $1 million dreaming up plans on how to send a space ship to another solar system. We can no longer afford such out of this world spending if we hope to ensure our national security needs.

More than $67.9 billion could be saved over ten years by cutting these and some other non-defense defense spending outlined in an oversight report I recently issued entitled Department of Everything: Department of Defense Spending That Has Little To Do With National Security. This report, which is attached, highlights how the Pentagon has spent taxpayer money on non-defense programs and activities since the Budget Control Act, which created sequestration, was signed into law. The Pentagon, for example, paid $1.5 million to procure beef jerky advancements from France. DOD also spent more than $6 billion on questionable, duplicative and unnecessary research through its various research agencies. This included $5.2 million to determine what lessons about democracy and social decision-making could be learned from fish as well as a grant which resulted in an iPhone app to alert users when to take a coffee break.

In addition, the report identifies DOD programs and missions with a tenuous connection to national security, such as the billions of dollars spent subsidizing grocery stores here in the United States, running elementary schools costing four times as much as local schools but with no better educational outcomes, and duplicating tuition assistance programs already provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Instead of modernizing our military’s aging weapon systems, these initiatives have siphoned resources away from real defense needs while duplicating other government programs.

Before furloughing essential personnel who support our troops or compromising our readiness, I would encourage you to consider eliminating or at least reducing spending on these non-defense related activities that are in the defense budget.

I look forward to your thoughts regarding the findings and recommendations of this oversight report on non-defense spending and any areas where you can take action today or in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget request toward this end. If I can ever be of assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,
Tom A. Coburn, M.D.
United States Senator

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