Friday, April 22, 2016

money can't solve stupid, incompetent, self-serving, and mismanaged...,

nationalinterest |  In recent weeks, there’s been a steady drumbeat in the media of calls to increase defense spending. In newspapers, TV and radio, this chorus contends that a shrinking military budget is putting U.S. national security at risk. Repeal the Budget Control Act and boost Pentagon spending, they warn, or suffer the consequences of a less secure nation. The time has come to expose the fact these claims are without merit and instead shine a light on the real cause of our dwindling military capabilities.

The American military’s shrinking capabilities have very little to do with money. Rather, they are the result of internal mismanagement. The only way to strengthen our national security is not to spend more money, but rather to reform the way the Department of Defense does business. 

It boggles the mind that the DoD cannot account for the hundreds of billions of dollars a year that it spends. A full twenty-six years after a federal law was passed requiring all parts of the federal government to provide Congress with an audit of its spending, there remains only a single government agency that has not complied: the Department of Defense. Even after being publicly rebuked by the Senate in 2013 for this failure—and wasting billions of dollars on failed auditing software—the Pentagon remains noncompliant. Although it’s a major problem that we don’t know how the Pentagon spends its money, an examination of the known expenses is even more alarming.

Look no further than the $500 million spent to train Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. That program was scrapped after putting only a handful of trainees on the ground. Or the $468 million spent on planes for the Afghan Air Force that we were forced to destroy because the Afghans could not fly or maintain them.

Even worse, consider the $20 billion spent by the Army on its Future Combat System, which was supposed to develop the next generation of armored vehicles, but produced exactly zero new pieces of equipment. The weakened state of today’s military has not been caused by insufficient appropriations, but by sometimes breathtaking mismanagement within the Department of Defense.

The time has come to genuinely reform the Pentagon in ways that are commensurate with the caliber of the mismanagement. There are many changes that need to be made but three fundamental changes stand out as being necessary to enable our military to successfully navigate an uncertain global future.