BY MARK TAPSCOTT
Pentagon officials didn’t want the programs but Congress and President Obama gave them 10 that together cost billions of dollars anyway.
The 10 unwanted programs are contained in the $1.1 trillion “CRomnibus” spending bill approved by Congress and signed by the chief executive just before all of them left town for the Christmas vacation.
Analysts at the Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group that pays particular attention to the Department of Defense identified the unwanted programs as:
- $4.7 billion to refuel the Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft supercarrier, the USS George Washington.
- $1.46 billion for fifteen EA-18G Growler electronic warfare planes.
- $1 billion to begin work on an additional San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship.
- $479 million for four additional F-35 fighter jets (bringing the total number funded thus far to 38).
- $341 million to modernize 12 Apache helicopters and nine Black Hawk helicopters.
- $200 million for an additional Joint High Speed Vessel ship.
- $155 million for twelve additional MQ-9 Reaper drones.
- $154 million for an additional P-8A Poseidon Navy surveillance aircraft.
- $120 million for M1 Abrams tank upgrades.
- $150 million for medium and heavy tactical vehicles.
There was some good news in the CRomnibus measure, however, according to POGO analysts Lydia Dennett and Ethan Rosenkranz. They pointed to four provisions that should strengthen whistleblower protections and make wasteful spending more difficult.
“The first protection, Section 713, prohibits the payment of salary to a federal employee who prevents whistleblowing or retaliates against a whistleblower. And Section 743 prohibits the use of confidentiality agreements or statements that restrict whistleblowers from lawfully reporting waste, fraud, or abuse to a designated investigative or law enforcement representatives.
“The spending bill also includes provisions stating that no taxpayer dollars can be used to enter into deals with tax cheats (Sect. 744) and certain convicted felons (Sect. 745). These are common-sense, and necessary, taxpayer protections,” Dennett and Rosenkranz said.
Go here to read the complete POGO report.