Military Spending — The Department of Waste
|June 12, 2005||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Irresponsible Military Spending
During a Time of Huge Budget Deficits
Here is a news update from Taxpayers for Common Sense. TCS is the best organization that monitors excessive government spending, corruption and corporate welfare.
The Department of Waste
This may come as a shock for some of you, but a new report shows that the Department of Defense (DOD) routinely wastes your money by losing or discarding surplus equipment that could be reused. According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the DOD lacks significant management controls that would ensure proper reuse of items purchased by the military.
Over the last three years, the Pentagon disposed of $33 billion in excess equipment, of which $4 billion was reported to be in new, unused, or excellent condition. The problem is that DOD units reutilized only $495 million or about 12 percent of those items. The remaining $3.5 billion in items were transferred or donated outside of DOD, sold for pennies on the dollar, or even destroyed.
The DODs problems with excess property system are systemic and extensive. In 2002, the DOD continued to sell top-grade chemical protective suits for $3 on the Internet while its own military units were waiting to procure exactly the same suit for $200. In 2003, the DOD sold excess biological laboratory gear for pennies on the dollar.
The GAO slammed the point home by legally purchasing at virtually no cost a score of items from the DOD, including tents, boots and medical supplies. In all, GAO officials paid a little under $3,000 and received items that cost the US taxpayers about $80,000. Facing proof like this, the DOD cannot deny the truth.
Each year, the DOD disposes of property that costs billions to acquire. Yet, the GAO found that the DOD spent at least four hundred million dollars over the last two years on the purchase of items that they already had.
The report also identified hundreds of millions of dollars in reported lost, damaged or stolen items, including sensitive military items. Also, they found valuable property left outside that was destroyed or damaged because of rain, wind or hurricanes.
This isn’t just a matter of bad bookkeeping, lax management or weak inventory controls. These numbers measure major weaknesses in critical combat support machinery. Waste on this scale affects our ability to meet the immediate needs of men and women in uniform that are putting themselves in harm’s way.
The report underscores how the DODs acquisition practices result in our military buying too much and being unable to track with any accuracy where excess property is and how it can be delivered to those who need it. Once dropped into the multibillion dollar black box of the excess property system, good equipment can mix with bad, or disappear altogether.
This type of system easily hides malfeasance and invites theft. Efforts to fix the system are long overdue. Hopefully the GAOs report will give the DOD a nudge in the right direction.
For more information, contact Keith Ashdown at (202)-546-8500 ext. 110 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
TCS is at www.taxpayer.net
Another Embarrassment for the Pentagon — U.S. Military Program Full of Corruption, Waste and Fraud
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