Report: Pentagon Squandered Billions on Weapon Systems

Image: Report: Pentagon Squandered Billions on Weapon Systems Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II fighter, cited by The Washington Times as the worst offender for wasteful Pentagon spending.

Monday, 18 Mar 2013 12:34 PM

By Kenneth Hanner

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The Pentagon has squandered billions of dollars over the past two decades on weapons systems that either ended up being scrapped or had massive cost overruns.

The shockingly long list of mismanaged projects was tallied by The Washington Times, citing government reports and industry analysts.

And with the Pentagon forced to make across-the-board spending cuts when the federal sequestration went into effect on March 1, reports of military waste are likely to make efforts to restore any funds in upcoming budget battles that much more difficult.

The worst offender for wasteful spending was the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter with costs for development and procurement soaring from $233 billion in 2001 to $400 billion today, according to the Government Accountability Office. And the 30 year cost of operating and maintaining the fleet, a joint project of the Air Force, Navy and Marines, tops $1 trillion.

Another weapons system that turned into a fiscal fiasco was the Army’s Future Combat System, the Times reported.

The $18 billion program envisioned weapons that would be effective on the future high-tech battlefield but the cost of the program ballooned from $92 billion to $159 billion. Ultimately, parts of the project were scrapped, with the rest folded into existing Pentagon programs.

“One of the problems with sequestration, and one of the reasons all the services are saying ‘it’s so devastating, it’s so devastating,’ is because they’re getting such little bang for their buck,” Ben Freeman, national security investigator at the Project on Government Oversight, told The Times. “When they do have to cut money from it, it cuts a lot because they’re not getting a lot for that money that they have spent.”

Other wasteful projects cited by the paper include:

• $10 billion spent by the Navy on the DDG-1000 destroyer before it was killed due to high operational costs;
• The Air Force’s new fleet of reconnaissance satellites, which grew by 40 percent to $12 billion;
• The Army’s Comanche attack helicopter, which was canceled in 2004 after $7 billion was spent on the program;
•Crusader artillery weapons, which were scrapped by the Army in 2002 at a cost of $1.7 billion.

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