There is no doubt that there must be a priority to make sure that our nation is protected and our interests at home and abroad are secured, but that’s not an excuse to continue wasteful and unnecessary Defense spending. One member of Congress, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), believes that sequestration, the automatic cuts Congress and the President agreed to in the Budget Control Act of 2011, may have to be halted due to new potential threats to America:
The second-in-command of the House Armed Services Committee predicted Friday that the automatic defense cuts set to begin again next fall will be stopped because rising threats worldwide are swaying Americans to support a stronger military.
U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican, toured Newport News Shipbuilding with four local congressmen. He said afterward that he expects that the remainder of more than $500 billion in defense cuts set to be made over a decade — known as sequestration — will be changed or undone by late next year. The reductions are part of more than $1 trillion in automatic cuts begun last year.
First, Rep. Thornberry has a great deal of explaining to do when he tells taxpayers that a deal he voted for which specifically calls on the Senate, House, and President to come together to identify smart spending cuts won’t be implemented because Congress failed to do their jobs. Second, there are plenty of opportunities to cut Defense spending without compromising security.
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) wants to help Rep. Thornberry and his colleagues in the House and Senate to identify smart spending cuts. The first place to start is to eliminate the earmarks uncovered by TPA in the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills. In the House (click here), there were 137 earmarks worth $8,176,255,000. In the Senate (click here), there were 190 earmarks worth $11,718,149,000. All of the earmarks listed were spending items not requested by the Pentagon.
In addition, here are more examples of wasteful spending at the Department of Defense that reveal just how much money is being wasted:
- $3.3 Billion for the sustainment of the Afghan National Security Force
- $1 Billion in ammunition destroyed due to outdated inventory management
- $40.5 million for two C-130 transport planes Afghanistan can’t use
- $34 million for a compound in Afghanistan demolished before ever used
Other taxpayer groups have also identified spending cuts. Taxpayers for Common Sense pointed out just how badly Congress was ignoring the real opportunity to trim the Defense budget to eliminate waste while still ensuring protection of national security interests:
“While there were a few things to cheer about in the Committee report, from the taxpayers’ perspective, we believe the House Appropriations Committee missed many opportunities to make some smart decisions, as well as some hard choices, about Pentagon spending,” according to TCS. “Because in a bill making up to $570 billion available to the Pentagon, there is plenty of room to trim wasteful spending. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it.”
Last year, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) and the R Street Institute rolled up their sleeves and released a detailed report outlining exactly how nearly $2 trillion dollars in taxpayer money could be saved in Pentagon spending.
There is a real need for smarter spending at the Pentagon so taxpayers and the country can be protected. Nobody wants to leave the nation, nor its interests unprotected in a world filled with threats and turmoil; but when basic budgetary restraints are ignored and massive debt continues to pile up, that will continue to emerge as a threat to national security all on its own.