ACTION ALERT: End Pentagon’s Unfunded Priorities List

April 12th, 2023 - by Sam Ratner / Win Without War

Tell Congress to End the Pentagon’s Wish Lists
Sam Ratner / Win Without War

(April 10, 2023) — In a time where global issues like climate change, pandemics, and wealth inequality demand our collective attention and resources, the United States continues to funnel billions upon billions of dollars into the Pentagon’s coffers.

A key contributing factor is the unchecked spending that lobbyists drive up by exploiting the Unfunded Priorities Lists (UPL) or “wish lists,” which have become a tool the Pentagon and weapons contractors manipulate.

Service branches and combatant commands are mandated by statute to provide Congress with their UPLs. These are basically lists of projects the president has purposely left out of his annual budget requests that the different entities inside the Pentagon want anyway.

Lobbyists and hawks in Congress then in turn use the UPLs to funnel billions of dollars more into the Pentagon for unnecessary projects and weapons. The services and combatant commands just released their UPLs, and, as expected, they’re in the billions. The Navy wants more ships, the Air Force wants more F-35s, and so on.

These wish lists have gotten so extravagant and out of control that even Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has come out against the practice. And Senator Elizabeth Warren is championing the cause of ending UPLs in Congress.

ACTION: Sign now if you agree with us. It is time we put a stop to the Unfunded Priorities List. Tell Congress to end UPLs now!

This year alone, there have been billions of dollars in requests for new amphibious ships, tanks, helicopters, and missile upgrades, all to boost the revenue of various weapons contractors.

These wish list items will lead to increased spending by completely skirting the proper evaluation and oversight needed to prevent arms lobbyists from running wild.

In fact, just last year, these requests were responsible for at least half of the $45 billion added to President Joe Biden’s initial request. Such spending is not only unsustainable, but it also diverts resources from critical areas like education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

Congress has the authority to fund these lobbyists’ wish lists through the appropriations process, or to stop them. What they choose to do is up to us.

It’s long past time to place the needs of the people above the profits of weapons contractors and the desires of the Pentagon. Demand that Congress put an end to UPLs now.

Together, we will make sure that Congress promotes transparency and forces the Pentagon to make strategic decisions about spending priorities.

Thank you for working for peace,
Sam, Yint, Faith, and the Win Without War team