Defense Spending

More Defense Dollars Don't Guarantee a Better Military

The truth about military spending.


Everyone agrees that federal spending is out of control, yet there's little appetite to go after bloated Pentagon budgets. Americans from the left, right, and center all too often give the military a pass because they grudgingly believe current levels of defense spending are necessary for national security.

But is there such a thing as too much defense spending? Is it possible that, counterintuitively, more defense dollars could make us less safe?

Yes. The fact is, that is exactly what's happening. There are tens of billions of defense dollars being wasted every year. That's not just bad for our checkbook. It's bad for our military effectiveness.

The problem is two-fold. First, there is the Pentagon acquisition system, which fails to deliver affordable and effective weapons on time. Then, this failed system is overseen by a Congress that rewards the waste with additional dollars for modernization at the cost of near- and medium-term readiness.

Consider the ineffective weapon systems the Pentagon tries to develop. One infamous example is the Future Combat System (FCS), an Army program that was meant to replace America's workhouse armored vehicles that were built in the 1980s. After more than a decade, the program was cancelled after spending $20 billion and producing exactly zero new vehicles. Meanwhile, our potential adversaries have produced several new iterations of tanks and other armored vehicles.

A recent CSIS report estimates taxpayers lost $59 billion in acquisition failures from 2001 to 2010, and shows that the problem is systemic. Last year the Government Account Office (GAO) found that, despite years of recommendations on ways to correct development failures, the Pentagon "still lacks the capacity to fully implement reforms, particularly in the areas of cost estimating, program assessment, systems engineering, and developmental testing."  

Then, on top of the Pentagon's inability to effectively manage major acquisition programs, Congress supports systems that primarily benefit its members' constituents and campaign supporters, further compromising the U.S. military's ability to field a force properly equipped and trained. A look at where the defense dollars go—and where key members of Congress get their financial support–is very telling.

Readiness determines whether our troops are fit to fight and is largely funded through the operations and maintenance accounts. But the U.S. Army has seen its training and maintenance funds gashed by almost 40 percent since fiscal year 2012 while the amount of money the services spend on major weapon systems, even during sequestration and other dips in defense spending, has remained steady. The Associated Press reported last month that "the military services' modernization portfolio in November 2008 was $1.64 trillion. The latest reports, from March 2015, show a value of $1.62 trillion."  

Last month Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Lawrence Korb explained that it's much easier to cut readiness than it is to cut a weapon system supported by and lobbied for by the defense industry. The pressure placed on Congress by the defense industry is relentless, with the defense industry spending a stunning $128 million on lobbying Congress in 2014 to support defense projects and bills that benefit them instead of training and support for our armed forces.  

Open Secrets analysis found that the primary reason these private firms spend so much supporting and lobbying members of Congress is expressly to secure "government defense contracts and earmarks and influenc[e] the defense budget to make those contracts more likely." Most contributions are steered toward members on the committees that authorize and appropriate this money. Chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee have been particular favorites.

In his final run for Congress in 2012, former House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) received a staggering $703,400 from the defense industry. After retiring from Congress in 2014, McKeon established a consulting firm in Washington, boasting to prospective customers that his company "adeptly crafts and implements messaging strategies, and raises the profile of a client's initiative by getting it in front of key, influential figures." In the 2014 election cycle, the current chairman of that committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) received $427,850 in campaign contributions from the defense industry, equaling almost a third of all his contributions. He has coincidentally been one of the biggest advocates for increased defense spending.

These major acquisition failures, and the sway the defense industry holds over legislators, will continue until ordinary voters hold the military and elected leaders accountable for the way they spend taxpayers' dollars. We need to realize that our national security will not be strengthened by spending more on defense. We need to decide our funding levels, and how the funds are allocated, based solely on what will create the most effective military possible. Choices made with this mentality will produce a military that is both adequately trained and modernized. Maintaining the status quo will likely further degrade our overall ability to defend the nation's vital interests.

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  1. If you can think of better ways for a certain Golden State U.S. senator to funnel tax dollars to her husband’s companies, I’d like to hear it.

    1. Well, at some point, their authoritarianism will be so strong they can do a direct transfer from the taxpayers to the elites’ bank accounts, without having to go through the charade of producing $500 hammers and $800 toilet seats to launder the money.

      1. The $500 hammer and $800 toilet seats are a bit of a misnomer. The problem is that the military contracts out to very (unnecessarily) precise specifications. Hence, the producers can’t supply just a normal off-the-shelf version of the product. Now, if they’re running massive runs of the product (the usual situation), that isn’t a problem. But, when the military turns around and decides they want just a few more of the product, the contractor winds up having to retool specifically for the run of just those few extra items. They pass that cost on, with justification.

        1. This is true, contracts are a big reason why the military wastes so much money. Addressing that one issue would save more money than anything. But the contractors aren’t spending their own money, and there’s lots of political favors to be had.

        2. Most of the $500 to $800 is in paper work. These seats are for one of the bombers, I think the B2, and only maybe 70 were made. The companies spent ten of thousands of dollars on getting them approved. Even at $800 apiece they probably lost money.

        3. A great example are the various programs the Army runs, trying to buy a new rifle or handgun. This is America, so there are dozens of off-the-shelf weapons available. The Army could have sent a couple of infantry master sergeants to a large gun store with a credit card and had their program test articles by the end of the day. Let some infantrymen burn a few thousand rounds of ammo per gun, and have them rank the items. The whole process shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks.

          Instead, the Modular Handgun System request for proposals had (no kidding) hundreds of pages of requirements, effectively limiting the bids to less than half-a-dozen defense conglomerates, all of which will be happy to overcharge for an item that is still almost entirely off-the-shelf.

  2. We spend more on defense today adjusted for inflation than we did in 1986 at the peak of the Reagan buildup. I know we have a more advanced and powerful military now, but it is not like we had a low tech one then.

    The defense industrial complex is sick and broken. The situation is a massive threat to our national security. The national defense is in a vice being squeezed on the one side by crooked contractors looking to steal as much money as possible even if it comes at the expense of readiness and social justice warriors on the other side who view the military as a laboratory for social change and enforce PC insanity that will some day get a lot of people killed.

    We don’t need more defense spending. We need massive defense reform.

    1. Yet we have to listen to Rubio’s claptrap about defense spending being at an all time low. I couldn’t figure it what in the fuck he was talking about until I went to his site and realized he’s treating forward reductions in proposed spending as cuts. In other words, if Gates had asked for ten trillion a year more and Congress said no, that would be a ten trillion dollar cut.

      He really is a schmuck.

      1. The situation makes me sick. Neither side is honest or gives a shit about the national defense. This is one of the reason why I have no use for the Republican hacks who are shitting their pants over Trump. Don’t tell me you give a shit about the country and then think Rubio is the guy.

      2. “Yet we have to listen to Rubio’s claptrap about defense spending being at an all time low. I couldn’t figure it what in the fuck he was talking about until I went to his site and realized he’s treating forward reductions in proposed spending as cuts”

        Rubio was also complaining that defense spending has dropped like 20% since 2010, which somewhat ignores the fact that we aren’t fighting wars in Afghanistan or Iraq with nearly the same ferocity as we were a decade ago.

        Apparently you’re not allowed to scale back defense spending when wars are coming to an end. We should have just kept WWII era defense spending into the fifties per Rubio’s logic.

        1. The problem is that nowhere is there any assessment of whether we are getting anything for our money. Republicans talk about defense the same way Democrats talk about schools. DOD is forever underfunded and there is never a problem that isn’t just one more funding increase away from being solved.

          1. “Republicans talk about defense the same way Democrats talk about schools.”

            Exactly. Pump more money into the gaping maw of defense contractors and you’ll magically see military improvement!

            1. In a way, it’s worse, because the pumping of money into defense contractors eventually results in the militarization of the police (such as small-town police departments getting MRAPs for free), while pumping money into the education department only produces a bunch of good-for-nothing school administrators.

              Who would you rather fight when the revolution starts?

          2. Team-Red-bots used to mock the idea of throwing money at the problem — except insofar as they wanted to do exactly that.

          3. There is no neutral assessment. Everyone will have their own agenda. Again, just look at Reason. Any talk about tricare? Any talk about how congress gave raises higher than requested by DoD? Nope, that’s not nearly as convenient as procurement. I mean who doesn’t hate crony defense contractors? But don’t talk about the cash and bennies handed out to the troops.

            Yes let’s have an homest discussion about defense spending. Reason can start.

            1. Good luck with that. Reason has never said an honest word about the subject except by accident, like here.

              1. I don’t know. Matt Welch tends to be very honest about virtually every topic he writes about, which is why he’s the best writer here along with Bailey. It’s too bad Welch spends most of his time on his editorial duties because the blog would be better if he were a contributor to it.

                He also fully acknowledges the impact of healthcare and retirement spending on the budget.

                “The nation’s current and future deficit is driven overwhelmingly by health care, military and retirement spending, each of which involve ever-increasing promises that have proved politically career-threatening to scale back.

                That’s why politicians prefer instead to talk about $16 muffins and $600 toilet seats — it’s the least expensive way to simulate fiscal responsibility. The boy who cries muffin while signing onto every new major entitlement and military adventure is not in any position to deliver lectures about tax-dollar stewardship. And never forget that the spending frenzy is distinctly bipartisan: Even alleged fiscal radical Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, voted for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the Iraq War and Medicare Part D.”

                1. I concur on welch, but note you had to go to cnn for that piece, and I’ll note that he’s mostly MIA in the site.

                  Even then he’s arguably wrong about ever increasing military spending. Again, as %gdp military spending is going down. Even during the buildups it wasn’t sustained for more than a decade. Tell me the same is true for entitlements.

            2. So what agenda do you think Reason is pushing as regards pay and benefits for military personnel and employees?

          4. This is true. And further, many of the largest contracts are the most useless. The F35 program is a obvious example. A plane that does not fly well,(or at all), at enormous cost, is slow, not stealthy, but … good news! even the bloated contractors of our allies can get some of taxpayers money. We just spend a trillion dollars on planes that do not perform as well the ones we already had.

            1. The F35 is age eat example of a mind boggling expensive program that will be fully functional I time to be obsolete. We have full size drones tanking and landing on an aircraft carrier in their own, but for some reason we are pumping all this money into a mediocre 4/5th gem fighter.

    2. Seconded!

      Procurement is broken almost beyond repair. And the Administration is doing everything possible to fuck up the units at the lowest levels.

      There is an absolute refusal to buy off-the-shelf gear by all the services except the Marines (and they have been fucking up in aviation lately). The Army wanted a wheeled vehicle but refused to buy the LAV or any of the similar vehicles on the market. Instead they poured billions of dollars into R&D to produce something extra shitty in the Styker.

      The F-35 is the pinnacle of this purposeful waste. It can’t dogfight for shit, carry a decent payload, evade long-wave radar, or survive at low altitude – but it can deliver $ billions to the connected contractors.

      1. Nevermind the 45 minute warm-up for the VTOL version which cooks the flight deck.

      2. The f-35 was supposed to be procurememt reform. The marines need their gator navy taken away from them obviating the need for the b variant and the airforce needs to be rolled back under the army. Both services have been especially bad at procurement.

        1. Other than the F35, the Marines have been spectacularly good at procurement. Because they get a much smaller piece of the Defense budget, they became very good at buying good stuff cheap.

          Examples – their new uniforms actually work as camouflage and were designed for basically nothing. The LAV is just a copy of the Swiss Piranha with the gun from the Bradley – no design costs. The service keeps buying stuff off-the-shelf or waiting for the Army to iron the kinks out of their designs.

          1. Really? EFV ring a bell? Are you planning an amphibious assault anytime soon? I’m not. And Guadalcanal was 70 years ago. Get over it. You can use existing big deck carriers for air support.

            1. Truman wasn’t planning one in 1950 either.

            2. Got bad news for you: we’ve done dozens of amphibious operations in the past 25 years. We’re just smart enough to not use Mike Boats to hit a beach like Iwo Jima anymore. The initial invasion of Afghanistan was launched from the sea, ergo it was an amphibious assault.

              Yes the EFV/AAAV was too gee-whiz for it’s own good. That doesn’t mean we’ll always be able to attack the bad guys from land.

              1. ’91 had a whole regiment hitting a beach in Iraq.

        2. The Marine Gator Navy is very handy. But they should have just speced out a different aircraft and kept the Harrier going until it makes sense price wise. Or, just go with fighter drones along with helicopters and Ospreys.

      3. Once you get into the territory of hundreds of billions and trillions it’s hard to wrap your head around just how much money it is. For a bit of perspective, the F35b program is so expensive that gubmint could have used the money to build a large Martian colony or two, or three. Maybe even terraform the damn place.

        1. I say we build a space elevator instead. Anyone pisses us off, we just drops rocks from orbit on them.

          1. space elevators are a harsh mistress

        2. You underestimate the ability of the gov’t and its contractors to inflate the costs of big projects.

          If the F35B cost $1 trillion, a Mars base would cost $500 trillion–not because it the actual cost of materials and labor goes that high, but because in the public eye, building a Mars base seems like it should be more expensive than building a jet fighter, so the crooks can steal more without the public getting alarmed.

      4. Let’s not forget the Zumwalt class destroyers!

        1. Pikers compared to the ford class. And let’s not talk about LCS. At least the navy seems to have done good on the virginia class and burkes.

    3. We are spending more in real terms on everything than we were in 1986. In terms of GDP, military spending has been trending down over the last 50 years and is projected to continue to do so. Entitlements are going in exactly the other direction and far faster.

      This is a specious argument. The fastest expenditure growth in defense is on personnel, but, as usual, Reason conveniently ignores that and pretends it’s all fighter jetz. FCS was deservedly cancelled, but I guarantee this author would have been bitching just as much if it hadn’t.

      Again, just look at the shiny bad american empire and ignore the rot of the welfare state. Mercatus thanks Reason again for its donation this year.

      1. We are richer than we were in 1986. One of the benefits of getting richer is that you can spend a smaller percentage of your wealth on essentials like defense. I don’t see where the actual need for defense is any greater today than it was in 1986. We had to maintain 500,000 people in Germany back then and don’t have to do that now. The threats today and the nature of warfare do not require the giant armies that we had in the 20th Century. So I don’t see why defense can’t cost less of a percentage of GNP than it did in the past.

        I agree with you that as a general rule Reason has no more credibility than the hawks on this issue. Reason never saw a defense cut it didn’t like. That said, we have a huge problem with waste in the defense department. Before we start dropping more billions into DOD, we need to look at seriously reforming DOD so that money does some good. If we just keep sending them money, they will never reform.

        1. You miss the point. We are spending a significantly smaller %gdp on defense than in 1986. That is the real measure of the burden of defense spending and not the ‘real’ growth in spending. Within the next decade Medicaid alone will spend more than defense. We pay personnel more now than in 1986. There hasn’t been any increase in healthcare cost sharing in what, 15 years? How much have your insurance premiums gone up in that time frame? But that hits a little too close to home in the welfare deptartment so we don’t talk about it.

          1. All fair points. But those are issues we need to be talking about and figuring out how to control those costs before we just throw more money at the problem.

            1. Do you *ever* see reason talking about them? At some point you have to admit that it’s just dishonest.

              I agree about improving DoD spending. I think you could cut about 20% and still have it do the needed jobs, but it’s going to require a lot more than just cutting fighter jetz.

              1. The first thing I would do is derank the entire military. We have colonels doing job LTs used to do and master sergeants doing jobs that any decent sergeant could do.

                The military has more general officers today than it did in World War II, when there were 12 million people in the service. I would drastically cut down the number of higher ranked billets and fill them with more appropriate ranks for the work.

                1. You have a problem with more flag rank officers than ships or divisions or squadrons?

                  1. As a matter of fact I do, Skippy. I am just a big meany like that.

                    My favorite rank story involves the Judge Advocate Generals. Since the dawn of time each service has had a single two star billet for their chief lawyer. After Abu Garib it came out that there were meetings involving detainee operations that the TJAGs were not invited to because they were for three stars and above. The solution to that was to give the TJAGS another star so they could get into the meetings. No shit. It somehow never occurred to anyone to just invite the fucking lawyer regardless of rank.

                    As a result, the JAG corps in all services got pulled up a rank. Billets that had been filled by COLs for decades were not filled by one stars and what was once filled by one stars are filled by two stars and so forth.

                    1. Makes perfect sense.

                    2. Pay grade inflation.

                2. Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. The number of general/flag officers now is less than half the number during WW2, and down 30% since 1965.
                  Even if you fired all the GOFOs, they are only .069% of the force.

                  1. Rob,

                    You are only counting the AD, you are forgetting the reserves and NG. There were 2000 GOs at the end of WWII There are currently 962 AD authorizations plus another 422 for the reserves and at least another 171 (three for each of the 57 NGs) NG flag officers. That is 1555. A bit lower than I thought but still in the ball park and way too many given the size of the force

                    Remember there was no reserve of NG during WWII. Everyone was called to federal service.

                    Sorry but I am real geek about this stuff.

                    1. Then you probably know that while there are 962 AD authorizations, only 896 are filled.

      2. ignore the rot of the welfare state

        The military/industrial complex IS a welfare state.

        1. And a tiny fraction of the domestic welfare state.

          1. How is 15% of the federal budget a ‘small percentage?’

            1. You compare it to the other 85%.

              1. Math is fundamental.

                1. 15% of the federal government on one item is not small. Social Security is only a slightly higher percentage of the budget than defense and Social Security is not a small program.

                  Obviously the difference is that Social Security is guaranteed to grow and grow and grow since it’s an entitlement, so in 30 years Social Security is going to be a vastly larger percentage of the budget than defense. To say today that 15% of the federal budget is a ‘small fraction’ is pretty ridiculous, though.

                  1. Medicaid alone is a significant fraction of the defense budget. SS alone is larger. Medicare alone is the same size or larger. Hell, the farm bill alone is 20% of the DoD budget. DoD is about 25% the size of the welfare state and falling so yeah, keep worrying about the item that is declining so you can ignore the ones exploding.

                    And can you even quote two words from my sentence correctly?

                    1. Who is ignoring growing entitlement spending? What is your point? Military spending is a very significant part of the federal budget. 15% is neither a small percentage nor a tiny fraction. It is possible to consider more than one problem at once.

                    2. You sound like one of these legislators who calls smaller increases than planned “cuts”. It’s still a giant waste of a fuckload of money, even if it is shrinking as a share of GDP.

                2. Math is hard.

  3. We also need to spend on defense. Defense requires a military tailored to prevent invasion, and to respond to actual threats to our nation. Defense does not require that we be capable of fighting multiple wars on the other side of the planet at the same time.

    1. Why do the squirrels move end marks? Do the squirrels eat things tagged with /?

      1. My kingdom for a preview button! Oh, wait…

  4. “More Defense Dollars Don’t Guarantee a Better Military”
    But it works so well with education spending.

  5. We all know defense spending isn’t the only indicator of what keeps us safe. Homeland security spending for instance does a lot to keep us safe by ensuring only crack agents work for the TSA.

    There is also the little known drone metric. Just a few more drone strikes on people living in the third world and we’ll be well on the way to safety in our times!


    1. Oh sure, just when women get into combat roles libertarians start saying we’re spending too much on the military.

      Fucking sexists, end the war on women!


    2. ensuring only crack agents work for the TSA

      So that’s where all the crack babies went.

  6. My chin hit the desk so hard, it made a dent.

    1. Sounds like DoD procured that desk.

  7. More Defense Dollars Don’t Guarantee a Better Military
    This can’t possibly be true as it is counter to every Progressive principal of the power of government spending.

  8. First, there is the Pentagon acquisition system

    Having worked acquisition for several years, I can say that the system is indefensible. But, let’s be perfectly clear…it’s not the Pentagon’s acquisition system. That clusterfuck is Congress’s ugly baby all the way down.

    1. +47 pages of certs and reps

      1. I always loved processing a DOD sale. Does it really do any good to require a 15 page contract each time you want to put an additional POTS line on a base? Whose interests does such a cockamamie policy serve?

  9. These major acquisition failures, and the sway the defense industry holds over legislators, will continue until ordinary voters hold the military and elected leaders accountable for the way they spend taxpayers’ dollars.

    This assumes that the equivalent of the mafia, but with better PR, listens to those they fleece.

    If you want to reduce the sway of the defense industry, get rid of the standing military and have well armed civilian militias to protect against invasions.

  10. But is there such a thing as too much defense spending? Is it possible that, counterintuitively, more defense dollars could make us less safe?

    I sure am glad you didn’t make these questions the headline for the story, because you know the rule about the answer to any question being asked in a headline.

    But “counterintuitively”? Maybe if you know nothing about economics and how organizations work. I can’t think off-hand of any organization that violates the general rule that bureaucracies’ primary mission is to expand the bureaucracy regardless of its stated mission and therefore more dollars never equals better outcomes as judged by their stated mission. Bureaucracies always get bigger because their primary function is to get bigger – and they’re damn good at fulfilling that function. The bigger the bureaucracy, the harder it is to provide a decent end product that is supposed to be the primary function of the organization so it’s completely and easily understandable that more money equals poorer performance in accomplishing what they were intended to accomplish. Nothing counter-intuitive about that at all.

    1. I was talking to my nephew’s boy just the other day about the “matrix revolution” – the idea that someday we may figure out enough about how the brain and the mind and the memory work that you’ll be able to download any memory into your brain, whether that’s the memory of doing open-heart surgery or doing a porn star, flying a 747 or flying on acid, reciting the alphabet or reciting the Encyclopedia Britannica. If you can simply download the memories of multiple history professors, science professors, math professors, language arts professors, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, engineers, mechanics, chefs, you name it, such that in a very short time you can know as much about as many different fields of knowledge as you can imagine, what will happen to the education establishment?

      I can guess – the minute it becomes obvious they’re about to be obsoleted right out of a job they’re going to lobby for strict laws and regulations on the down-loading of knowledge. Students will only be allowed to download so much so fast – maybe over a period of 15 or 20 years or so – and regular testing will be required to make sure the download worked correctly – testing to be conducted by certified testing agents, of course – and such a regimen will naturally require more teachers and bigger budgets for schools than ever before. That’s how that works.

      1. Students will only be allowed to download so much so fast

        No additional laws/ regulations needed. Net Neutrality will take of that…

  11. “More Defense Dollars Don’t Guarantee a Better Military”

    Yes, but as the story itself notes, the purpose is to guarantee re-election.

  12. We should have just kept WWII era defense spending into the fifties per Rubio’s logic.



  13. Show me the board of directors of a major defense contractor, and I’ll show you a bunch of retired generals and admirals who use their connections with high ranking officers to steer contracts their way. Show me a bunch of high ranking officers who make decisions on what weapons to buy, and I’ll show you the future board of directors of the contractors they buy the equipment from. It’s a revolving door of corruption.

    1. Don’t forget the Senators.

      1. I think they are more likely to become consultants than board members upon retiring. But much of the upper managers in the defense industry are the same officers who steered contracts towards those same corporations. They are basically rewarded with high paying jobs for their efforts to waste taxpayer dollars on bad contracts.

  14. the Pentagon “still lacks the capacity to fully implement reforms, particularly in the areas of cost estimating, program assessment, systems engineering, and developmental testing.”

    I’ve seen this firsthand. Six letters: GPS OCX. My god, am I glad to be off that mismanaged clusterfuck of a program. As a taxpayer and a libertarian I was ashamed to be associated with that monumental piece of fail.

  15. I’m glad to see Reason wade into this mess. Please, please, please keep at it. It’s a nightmare, never mind the fact that they treat their most important weapons systems (the people) like garbage.

    Please go after the sexual assault and “resiliency” programs within the military as well, which are founded on the same garbage studies as the college sexual witch hunts. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these programs are crushing morale and readiness.

    1. They’re also rolling out a new “Roadmap for Diversity and Inclusion” within the Air Force. I’m just going to let that sink. The military is fully embracing (has fully embraced) the SJW culture.

    2. Please go after the sexual assault and “resiliency” programs within the military as well, which are founded on the same garbage studies as the college sexual witch hunts. I’m not exaggerating when I say that these programs are crushing morale and readiness.

      If reason cared about military readiness and had anyone on staff who knew anything about the subject, they would be all over that issue.

      1. I know that the military is another one of those things where Libertarians have a myriad of viewpoints, but I think we can all agree that you probably don’t want the SJW mindset in the military. Every time I read a Reason article about the witch hunts at college campuses I am disheartened by the fact that I can absolutely relate and know quite a few people who have had their lives decimated by the SJW mindset that has infected the military hierarchy. I feel like nothing more than a pawn for the political class (senior officers included) to move towards their goals.

        1. The college witch hunts don’t get anyone killed. The ones in the military do and are thus a thousand times worse and more important to stop.

        2. I feel like nothing more than a pawn for the political class (senior officers included) to move towards their goals.

          +1 Mongo.

      2. A decent President who appoints the right SecDef could fix it.

  16. Say what you will about the United States military, but remember that their infantryman have the best rifles money can buy.

    1. According to the Senators from Connecticut.

  17. The right treats the military the same way the left treats everything else. Let’s just throw more money at it and it will get better. Money is always the answer. The more money we spend the more we’ll get back. Despite the fact that the government spends more money on pretty much every possible thing than twenty years ago and we’re getting LESS back.

  18. You could probably make significant savings long term by eliminating women. An enormous amount of them end up injured and collecting full benefits for life or partial through the VA. I think the military stopped keeping track of the numbers because they were so poor.

    Add in the additional costs from pregnancy and other female medical issues on top of requiring replacements for non-deployable mothers and costs skyrocket.

    The personnel costs of medical and retirement will continue to rise with more women. The military has become a welfare program for females with lifetime benefits.

    1. Not to mention the extra strain on Personnel and / or the men. The women in my old unit got themselves pregnant literally while Saddam Hussein was invading Kuwait.

  19. This is gonna be really good.

  20. We do indeed need to reform our military purchasing bureaucracy to make it more efficient. We also need to spend MORE on defense and vastly less on the other crap the federal government does. After all, the single most important (and legitimate) thing the federal government does is provide for our common defense.

    Completely eliminate a variety of other agencies (Dept. of Education, Energy Dept., BATF, etc.) and radically reduce the budgets of others (EPA, welfare programs, etc.). Invest that money in DARPA and the military.

    The “Center for American Progress” is a leftist bunch. I would never trust them with our national safety. Duh.

  21. Absolutely correct! IKE warned us about the insidious Military Industrial Complex and we ignored him. It doesn’t help that our government purposely covers up and obscures our real Defense Spending. What we hear about is the “Defense Budget”, which should really be renamed the “Military Standby Budget” as once we start a war, that budget is never enough to run that war. That’s why Bush Jr had to hit up Congress for $1.5 Trillion on top of that “Defense Budget”:. and that’s why Obama had to ask Congress to boost it for ongoing fighting in the two Bush war zones.

    And that doesn’t cover the VA, which in any other business would be part of the running costs.. That’s separate. Nor does it include the CIA, FBI, TSA, NSA, NASA and whatever other spook organizations we don’t know about, or Foreign Aid. Nor does it include the pro-rata ‘Interest On The Loan” .. All this come to between $1.4 Trillion and $1.7 Trillion per year, depending on who you listen to. That’s absurd.

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  24. Unfortunately, there is much more to this story that is seldom mentioned in the media. The Pentagon budget is the single largest source of illicit (fraudulent, illegal) political money. Questions we should be asking: Why is there at least one defense contractor in EVERY congressional district? How many FULL TIME political operatives are on the payroll of defense contractors? (hint: more than a few) How many multi-million dollar defense department “research contracts” are doled out every year? (lots). Many of these contracts have no deliverables other than a report that is probably not even read. Defense Department funding is a racket that dumps billions every year into the pockets of politicians, the political parties and the contractors who “play ball” with the crooked pols. Massive political reform will be necessary if we are ever going to fix this despicable problem. Time to stop voting for incumbents. Break the back of the criminal enterprise that is our government. It will take patience and quite a bit of time, but it is certainly worth the effort. Rest assured, every member of Congress is well aware of the criminality surrounding Pentagon funding and of course the little pigs never come clean. Time to send them packing.

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