Hon. Barbara Lee / US House of Representatives & Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & David B. Larter / Navy Times – 2016-12-09 00:51:59
ACTION ALERT: Audit the Pentagon
Hon. Barbara Lee / US House of Representatives
(December 6, 2016) — It was recently discovered that the Pentagon tried to hide at least $125 billion dollars in wasted spending. [See: Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste. The Washington Post, December 5, 2016 — EAW.] This is an outrage and an insult to hardworking taxpayers.
In January 2015 the Pentagon requested an internal study to measure the efficiency of its enormous bureaucracy. But when the project revealed that the Pentagon was wasting billions of dollars in taxpayer money, they tried to cover it up.
This is absolutely shameful. We need to bring an end to this culture of unchecked spending at the Pentagon.
Barbara Lee has introduced bipartisan legislation that would bring transparency and accountability to defense spending. It’s irresponsible for the Department of Defense to recklessly spend billions of dollars at the expense of hardworking taxpayers.
For decades, the Pentagon has engaged in unchecked levels of waste, fraud and abuse. And this recently leaked report shows the urgent need to reel in excessive spending.
More than half a trillion dollars, or half of the entire annual federal discretionary budget, is consumed by the Pentagon each year. The American people should not be forced to foot the bill for exorbitant amounts of military spending, especially when it is used irresponsibly.
ACTION: Stand with Rep. Barbara Lee: Tell your representative to co-sponsor the Audit the Pentagon Act.
It’s time to audit the Pentagon and hold it accountable for wasting $125 billion in taxpayer dollars. Click here to sign the petition.
There is no excuse for this wasted spending. Thank you for joining us in speaking out against this injustice.
ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to Audit the Pentagon
Over $1 trillion for a fighter jet that’s been in production for over a decade that has yet to see the light of day, and $150 million spent on private villas in Afghanistan for a “handful of staff and visitors” — those are just two examples of the waste, fraud, and abuse that led a story from US News and World Report to call this the “Golden Age of Pentagon Waste.”
The Department of Defense (DOD) receives more than half of the country’s entire discretionary budget — an astounding $500 billion in taxpayer money per year. But unlike other government agencies, the DOD is the only government agency that cannot be audited, and it has never produced a financial statement that can pass an independent audit.
In the wake of the recent and tragic terrorist attacks in Turkey, Belgium, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, it’s more important than ever for elected officials in Washington to realize that the security of Americans can’t be bought with billions in unaccountable taxpayer dollars being thrown at defense contractors and weapons programs that can’t be justified. And when they do that, it comes at the cost of the strategic priorities and programs that will actually keep us safe.
With almost 60 cents of every taxpayer dollar going toward defense spending, it’s a situation that’s ripe for waste and fraud. The Pentagon’s spending deserves the same careful scrutiny as other government programs, and it’s time to do something about it. Fortunately, progressive champion Rep. Barbara Lee has been spearheading legislation in the House of Representatives to audit the Pentagon and impose a fee on any unit that remains unauditable. Sign the petition now and tell Congress to co-sponsor her bill.
The Audit the Pentagon Act would cut by 5 percent the budget of any federal agency that does not produce a financial statement for the previous year that can be audited by an independent auditor.
Auditing the Pentagon already has bipartisan support. When Rep. Barbara Lee introduced her Audit the Pentagon Act of 2015, she had several Republican co-sponsors. And when Rep. Lee introduced the bill in 2014, even Grover Norquist, the conservative founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, was there to voice his support.
In 2013, the Pentagon’s own Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction revealed that the Defense Department had “lost” at least $8 billion in Iraq and that it was impossible to track how a large portion of the $53 billion the US spent rebuilding the country.
It is outrageous for the Pentagon to evade the same standards we apply to other programs. This double standard contributes to the Pentagon’s out-of-control budget and culture of waste by sending the clear message that the Department of Defense department won’t be held accountable for its wasteful spending. It’s time for that to end.
ACTION: Stand with Rep. Barbara Lee:
Tell your representative to co-sponsor the Audit the Pentagon Act. Click here to sign the petition.
US Navy Refuses Pentagon Orders to Budget for Spending Cuts
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(December 8, 2016) — With Congress having today passed the 2017 military spending bill, most of the Pentagon is hard at work preparing another massive military spending bill in 2018. That does not include the US Navy, however.
Ordered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to prepare a budget that incorporates $17 billion in cuts over the next five years, the Navy is outright refusing to do so, with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus declaring the cuts to be “intolerable.”
At the center of the issue is that the Pentagon wants the cuts to center on major new shipbuilding programs, while the Navy is determined to see the number of ships they are fielding at any given time grow. This eagerness for more ships has led the Navy toward programs like the Littoral Combat Ship, a small coastal ship that officials have argued is mostly useless, but does count as a ship in between its many breakdowns.
President-elect Donald Trump is keen to increase military spending, including potentially increasing the number of ships, and it is likely this overt insubordination within the Navy is based on the assumption that Trump is going to overturn any planned cuts anyhow, likely allowing them to get away with not budgeting for it.
The Pentagon Told the Navy to Cut
$17 Billion from Its Budget; the Navy Said No
David B. Larter / Navy Times
(December 7, 2016) — The Navy is digging in its heels and rejecting billions in cuts from its 2018 budget as infighting has hit a boiling point at the Pentagon.
The Navy has refused to submit a budget that incorporates $17 billion in cuts over the next five years that Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered. It’s a standoff that has been brewing for months since Carter told the Navy to begin cutting major shipbuilding programs and invest in weapons systems and aircraft, according to half a dozen defense officials who spoke to Navy Times.
At issue is Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’s insistence that budget cuts not be directed at the shipbuilding program, which he has long fought to shield from cuts as he attempts to rebuild the fleet to his goal of 308 ships.
Mabus argues that cutting ships is the “least reversible” thing to cut from the budget because of the long timeline for shipbuilding programs and the damage to the industrial base. The Navy had been developing budgets with the $17 billion in cuts that preserved shipbuilding, but the savings came overwhelmingly from operations and maintenance money needed to deploy ships and fix them when they get back — Navy leaders deemed those cuts intolerable.
What’s unclear is what impact the outgoing administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget would have on the incoming Trump administration, which will be expected to roll out a defense budget this spring. Carter’s office insists its going to hand over the best budget it can while keeping the Navy and all the other services within the caps mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
“At Secretary Carter’s direction, the Department of Defense is hard at work developing a FY18 budget proposal that will help guide the next administration and ensure a seamless transition,” said top Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.
“All of the services were asked to develop specific budget plans that focus on improving readiness and developing capabilities that will allow the United States to defeat high-end adversaries while adhering to current budget limits. The Department is reviewing those plans to ensure they are balanced and maintain America’s military edge.”
But the Navy, led by Mabus, insists it would be foolish to send over a budget that cuts ships when Trump has said he wants to grow the Navy.
“Whatever budget the Navy submits will have the half-life of a mayfly at noon on January 20th,” said a senior defense official supportive of the Navy’s plan, referring to the date of Donald Trump’s inauguration. “So to some degree Secretary Mabus has tried to make that point over the past several weeks.”
The defense official said that Trump is “on the record” saying he wants 350 ships, so he is “unlikely to support a document that cuts ships. . . . This is a nonsensical discussion that amounts to people on the third deck [OSD], substituting their judgment for the Navy’s on what the Navy needs.”
The budget battle is the latest in a string of brawls between Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Mabus, which have spilled out into the public. Carter and Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work have pushed the Navy to cut its shipbuilding program in favor of investments in missiles and systems that will boost the current fleet’s capabilities.
“The games between Carter’s team and Mabus’s team have gone on for months,” said another defense official familiar with the infighting. “This is just a small example.”
Carter’s office is also preparing a letter to send to the Navy that will outline his priorities that will be sent to the Navy shortly, three sources confirmed. It would be the second such letter in the past 12 months.
Read the entire report online at: Navy Times
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