A proposal this week to modestly cut the Pentagon’s already unnecessarily high and wasteful budget failed.
Press coverage of the passage of the Senate version of the Pentagon’s annual spending bill, formally known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), focused primarily on the emerging battle over “culture war” provisions included in the House version. focused on. The bill, measures that would limit the Pentagon’s ability to promote diversity, fight racism in the ranks, and advance reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights.
Meanwhile, neither chamber has done much to challenge the Pentagon’s growing budget, which could reach $1 trillion in the next few years if current trends continue. An amendment by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would have cut the Pentagon’s budget by 10 percent failed by 11 votes to 88, indicating that most members are perfectly happy spending $886,000. The Pentagon and the Department of Energy (for nuclear weapons work), with some questions and some conditions.
The Senate vote represents a colossal failure of basic oversight that will set the stage for billions of dollars in waste, even as it makes the United States and its allies less secure. Regular price increases by gun contractors and irresponsible Pentagon spending are on the rise again, according to a CBS 60 Minutes investigation earlier this year and a hearing convened this week by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Be in the limelight.
There are countless examples of contractors overcharging the Pentagon and robbing taxpayers. Senator Warren only mentioned a few at this week’s hearing: paying $1,500 for a medical device that could be bought at Walmart for $192; giving Boeing $70 for a four-cent pin; and pay $1,800 for vaccines that normally cost $125. And as 60 Minutes wrote after interviewing former Pentagon procurement official Shai Assad, “They told us the Pentagon overpays for almost everything: radar and missiles… helicopters… planes… submarines.” … down to nuts and bolts. Screws.” “. In fact, RS recently reported that the Pentagon paid approximately $52,000 for a single dustbin.
Unfortunately, if the House and Senate votes on the NDAA are any indication, many members of Congress remain eager to throw more and more money at the Pentagon without holding accountable the departments or corporations that consume more than half of their budgets.
And it’s not just about price hikes. Hardly a word has been said in either house of Congress about America’s misguided and over-ambitious defense strategy, which is the main driver of the move toward the trillion-dollar Pentagon budget. The Pentagon’s current approach is a “cover the world” strategy that requires winning a war against Russia or China, taking military action against Iran or North Korea, and continuing the Global War on Terror, which includes operations in at least 85 Are. Country. Country.
A narrower strategy that takes a more realistic view of the military challenges posed by China and Russia, seeks diplomatic solutions to regional security risks, rolls back the Pentagon’s $2 trillion program to build a new generation of nuclear weapons, and de reduces the use of , Hundreds of thousands of private contractors that could save more than $1.3 trillion over the next decade, according to a recent article from the Quincy Institute.
Congress must seriously debate the appropriate role of the U.S. military in foreign policy and stop engaging in inflammatory rhetoric that exaggerates foreign threats and funds narrow projects that undermine any rational defense strategy. Major districts have more to do with generating revenue than taking action.
The House and Senate could partially save themselves later this year if they at least fend off efforts by hawks on Capitol Hill to increase the administration’s $886 billion military spending request as part of an emergency supplemental package. .
Several senators who would normally vote for Senator Sanders’ 10 percent cut amendment said they were sticking to the $886 billion figure set forth in the debt ceiling agreement. But the eagles have no such worries. They see $886 billion as a floor, not a ceiling, and will add as much to the Pentagon budget as the political market will bear, much to the delight of their backers in the arms industry .
enough is enough. It’s time to stop wasting money at the Pentagon at a time when urgent solutions are needed regarding climate, public health and economic inequality. America’s strength as a nation must be based on a healthy, well-educated population and a well-functioning democracy. There is much work to be done to make progress on those fronts, and investing more money in war and war preparations will undermine efforts to do so.