Pentagon Study Exposes Waste

And then they try to cover it up

Last night, the Washington Post reported that the Pentagon tried to bury a study done last year that uncovered $125 billion in wasteful spending.

The Pentagon commissioned the study in 2014 and the results were released in January 2015. The public is only learning about it now because the Post was able to obtain confidential memos and interviews. The Post reported,

The study was produced last year by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, and consultants from McKinsey and Company. Based on reams of personnel and cost data, their report revealed for the first time that the Pentagon was spending almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management.

Pentagon officials tried to cover up the findings because of fears that Congress would use the information to further cut the defense budget. As Congress rightly should. No private business can get away with wastefully spending a quarter of its budget. The US defense leviathan should not be any different. At the very least, the recommendations of the study should be implemented and tax payer money should go to actually useful expenditures.

The report found that the Department of Defense employs over 1 million people in core business operations only tangentially related to the military (jobs like HR, property management, and healthcare management).

Almost half of the Pentagon’s back-office personnel — 457,000 full-time employees — were assigned to logistics or supply-chain jobs. That alone exceeded the size of United Parcel Service’s global workforce.

The Department of Defense already has a bloated budget of over $500 billion annually. That is more than the entire GDP of Sweden last year (the tenth largest country by GDP in Europe).

Money is not tight around the Pentagon. Financial wisdom and efficiency, though, seem to be.