The latest trick from Congress to payback the military contractors who own them


Click to enlargeKatherine Tully McManus
A clot of military contractor lobbyists in the halls of Congress

…During an election year especially, the relationship between the defense industry and key congressional authorizers of funds can be almost seamless, resulting in a taxpayer-funded spending spree. That was particularly underscored by the House’s markup of the National Defense Authorization Act, which was literally swarmed by defense industry lobbyists throughout the over 16-hour marathon session.

Unfortunately the committee largely failed to consider opportunities for savings to increase effectiveness. The Project On Government Oversight joined a coalition of groups across the political spectrum to propose $38.6 billion in potential savings. The one notable saving the committee adopted was to cut the blimp that got loose last fall, named the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System…

Instead, the committee passed a disturbing war-spending gimmick. The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, which is supposed to support our troops fighting overseas, has regularly been used as a slush fund for Congress and the Pentagon to pay for favorite programs. But this year, for the first time, funding requested to fight our current wars has been taken hostage to boost Pentagon spending. Specifically, the bill purposely underfunds the OCO account by $18 billion in order to increase spending for additional weapon systems in the base budget (which, by the way, the Pentagon hasn’t asked for), hoping to trigger the need for the next President to ask for an additional supplemental bill to make up the shortfall around April, when this funding would run out.

So in this case not only has OCO been shifted by Congress to fund items that should be in the base budget, but the House is hoping to manufacture a war-spending crisis by purposely providing less than the Department of Defense says it needs in order to force even more Pentagon spending. It sounds complicated because it’s supposed to be.

This is outrageous and irresponsible. Those arguing for increased Pentagon spending have appropriately decried readiness shortfalls on numerous occasions. They’re wrong about the true cause of the readiness shortfalls, though, which is waste and mismanagement that only increases with a larger budget topline. “The solution to that loss is not to throw more money at the Pentagon—it’s to make the Pentagon a better steward of the trillions of dollars it already has,”…Lt. Col. Danny Davis recently wrote in The National Interest…

Let’s be clear about who stands to win and who stands to lose. The likely winners are the defense industry—who get rewarded for their campaign contributions with more funding for their overpriced weapon systems—and their lobbyists, pictured above standing outside the markup room. The likely losers are the troops and taxpayers — the people who don’t have the time or resources to stake out Congress to get their way.

RTFA if you want more details about this hustle. On one hand, conservative creeps who love to brag about cutting the cost of governance will brag about budget reduction. On the other, the same hypocrites plan to reward the military-industrial complex which owns a significant portion of their genes and genitals – with added sales and profits from crap no sensible military needs or wants.

Not that the Pentagon fits into any reasonable definition of sensible military.

One thought on “The latest trick from Congress to payback the military contractors who own them

  1. One hand washes the other says:

    Another Plan for Defense Contractors to Milk the Pentagon : Lockheed Martin and Boeing Push to Retain ‘Sustainment Costs’ https://www.dcreport.org/2019/04/23/another-plan-for-defense-contractors-to-milk-the-pentagon/ For instance, these “sustainment costs” for the next generation of F-35 fighter jets, already the world’s most expensive weapons program, are expected to top $1 trillion over the life of the program.
    In 2016, Lockheed Martin employed 55 former Defense Department officials as board members or lobbyists, according to a report by Project on Government Oversight.
    Boeing, whose KC-46 tanker aircraft were temporarily rejected by the Air Force because of trash and tools left inside, has even more former Defense Department officials on its payroll – 84 in 2016. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan spent 31 years at Boeing.
    See also https://www.afge.org/globalassets/documents/defend-our-jobs/2019/section-809-panel-letter-3-15-19.pdf

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