Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is known for going after government inefficiencies, whether it's lauching the GAO's comprehensive review of federal agencies for duplicative programs or his yearly "Wastebook." Now Coburn has turned to the Department of Defense in his latest report "Department of Everything," an in-depth look which finds $67.9 billion in spending unrelated to DoD's national security goals--spending that is often duplicative or wasteful.
A few of these examples include a significant amount of potential savings over the next ten years:
- Excessive military overhead - $37 billion over next decade
- Subsidizing 254 military-run grocery stores with Congressional appropriations- $9 billion over next decade
- 64 military-run schools that could be served by local public schools and STEM programs that duplicate the work of the Department of Education - $10.7 million over next decade
- More green energy initiatives than the Deparment of Energy - $700 million over next decade
- Non-military reseach and development - $6 billion over the next decade
Alternatively, the sequester would cut many military programs across the board, failing to target areas of DoD waste or minimize that impact on the military's capabilities. We are going to have to spend less on defense if we are going to put the country on a sustainable fiscal path, but we should do it through smart cuts.
There are plans--for example, the Sustainable Defense Task Force report--which have made reductions beyond the ones in the Budget Control Act by making targeted changes to troop levels, canceling or delaying unneeded acquisitions, and making changes to military compensation, among other things. Making targeted cuts would allow for a more efficient military budget than the sequester.