With the caterwauling and posturing over the debt ceiling running on, no end in sight, I find it interesting how many commentators, economists, legislators, and other assorted TV talking heads and yesholes keep yelling for spending cuts. Gotta cut the spending! Needs to cut the spending! Oh Lawd, please help us cut the spending!
The Obama administration's plan is a $400 billion defense budget cut over the next twelve years. Getting beyond the whole "we do a budget every year (or at least used to)" part of the equation, our President is only calling for a $33.3 billion cut per year? That amount of money means nothing on a right now basis, or even a next year after next year basis.
If anyone, anywhere on Capitol Hill was even halfway serious about pretending to be the least little bit serious about cutting defense spending, they would start demanding that some of the bullshit ways the Pentagon is wasting it's budget. Seriously, it's like they should be on Hoarders for filling the joint up with dumbass bills.
Dumbass bills like the one Boeing dropped on the United States Army, charging them $23 million for $10 million worth of helicopter parts. A 130% markup, and oddly enough, the Army is apparently fine with it. Why wouldn't they be? It's not like it's their money, and they didn't even feel like auditing the entire bill, covering only about eighty percent of the dollars spent, due to the sheer number of parts involved in the contract.
Fantastic. What is this, be all you can be (at least 80% of the time)? Did they literally put An Army ofOne on the audit? If one of my companies bought $10 million worth of anything, you can be damn well sure two things are going to happen:
- We are only going to pay $10 million dollars. Not one penny, Canadian quarter, Chucky Cheese token or shiny freaking bead more. Not even if the Hawkmen delivered the goods while Brian May played a guitar solo as I waited to hand him the little digital clipboard thing.
- We would get every single what the hell ever we ordered, even if it took a year's worth of a month of Sundays to count it.
- I'm not a guy prone to violence, but God help me should someone try to charge me $70 for a 4-cent part. Like Boeing did to the Army. That might just bring about some Joe Pesci in a mob role bullshit.
According to Army spokesperson Dan O'Boyle, the Army Material Command has implemented policy "requiring the use of all on-hand inventory before the purchase of any additional material on performance-based contracts."
So, the United States Army had to put it in writing to use what's on-hand before ordering more?
Exactly. What the fuck?
If that wasn't bad enough, there was also the report that said twenty-two percent of the United States Navy's ships aren't ready to sail or fight (in other words, they failed inspection), and more than half the Navy's planes are ready for combat. That's deployed aircraft, people. Aircraft carriers, destroyers, and frigates spend as much as forty percent of their deployed time dealing with at least one major system or equipment failure.
Ain't that some shit? These statistics were released during a hearing by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), chair of the House Armed Forces Readiness Subcommittee, last Tuesday.
For the amount of cash we give the Pentagon, and through them, a crapload of contractors, our Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps should be the Corvette of the world's military, not the battered Cavalier with one bum headlight I have been writing about.
There are things I would love to see the military do away with, and not because I'm some sort of heathen who doesn't support our troops (disclosure: I'm the fourth generation of my family to serve in the United States Army, including both my parents), but on a budgetary basis. Like planes. Why the hell does the Navy have planes? I mean, it's not like the Air Force has ships. Put the Air Force planes on the Navy's ships, let the Navy run the ship, let the Air Force run the planes. Could it really be that simple? Shouldn't it be that simple, really?
(Information for this commentary came from Spencer Ackerman's article at Wired.com, and Michael Hoffman's article at Defense News.)