Tags: pentagon | government waste | department of defense

Pentagon Waste Signals Low Integrity

Pentagon Waste Signals Low Integrity

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter speaks during a press conference with India's Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar at the Pentagon on August 29, 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

By Friday, 09 December 2016 04:57 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The biggest mistake the Germans made in World War II wasn’t the invasion of Russia. It was failing to line the beaches on D-Day with members of Congress. Evidently these worthies are such fierce antagonists that installing a few Barbara Comstocks or Chuck Schumers in each pillbox would have meant a devastating repulse for the Allied invasion.

After that crushing setback the only hope for the Allies would have been to send GIs over as “undocumented immigrants” and hope Berlin wouldn’t notice.

The news on the potency of politicians with regard to the Pentagon is deep in a Washington Post story on waste. Pentagon officials commissioned a study and when the researchers found $125 billion being spent on superfluous bureaucrats they buried the report.

The scenario was a little like Rocky I. The Defense Business Board, composed of experienced corporate executives and management consultants, was supposed to find chump change-sized waste that could be easily eliminated earning the Pentagon high praise and bonuses.

But like Rocky Balboa, the committee didn’t know they were a palooka. It discovered the Pentagon spends “almost a quarter of its [yearly] $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management.”

Compare that with overhead spending in the private sector where Alix Partners analyzed over 1,900 public and private companies with revenues over $500 million. Overhead as a percentage of sales varied between 14.6 and 15.2 percent, a bit over half what the Pentagon spends. The numbers are even worse for the Pentagon, because many private sector overhead employees are instrumental in producing revenue.

Whereas in the Pentagon, revenue just rolls in like the tide and the bureaucracy wastes it.

The board was astonished that the actual amount of waste was double what they predicted, but when it comes to obesity the Pentagon beats all comers.

Today there are approximately 1,002,000 troops on active duty. Every Marine may be a rifleman, but in the Army, Navy, and Air Force, even when deployed, many are just firing a stapler. Consequently, that figure overstates combat power.

Still that total is exceeded by the incredible number of paper-pushers and coffee-making colonels in D.C. That head count is 1,014,000. To put this in perspective, UPS runs a global shipping operation with 444,000 employees. In the Pentagon it takes 457,000 just to fill logistics or supply-chain slots, representing half of the building’s back-office “workforce.”

The average salary and benefits for these parcel bureaucrats is a stunning $200,000 per year, while the maximum for an operations supervisor at UPS is $95,000. The board devised a plan that would have eliminated this obscene excess and saved the Pentagon $125 billion over five years and the “plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.”

The money saved would have been enough to rebuild our increasingly decrepit nuclear deterrent or pay the operating expenses for 50 Army brigades.

It’s another scandal that in the 73 years the Pentagon has been in existence this is the first time military leadership has ever thought to ask where the money goes. An obvious question in solvent households across the nation, but something of a revelation in D.C.

Instead of taking the report and asking Congress to reduce the butt print in the Pentagon so as to expand the footprint in the field, the moral cowards there buried it. As Deputy Defense Sec. Robert Work — the second-highest ranking civilian official — whined, it’s difficult to eliminate federal civil service jobs because members of Congress love having them in their districts.

It’s no wonder the Department of Defense is incapable of winning wars these days. It can’t even win a PR fight with Congress.

The message would have been simple: Do taxpayers want their defense dollars going to a jobs program in the Pentagon, where the average employee makes a lot more than they do, or do they want their money spent defending the nation?

If Congressmen can weather losing thousands of manufacturing jobs in their districts as corporations flee to tax-friendly nations, they will probably survive the loss of a few deputies to the secretary in charge of toner replacement.

Our Department of Defense is corrupt and the rot starts at the top with careerists who have lost their moral center. They spend more time implementing and funding the latest social engineering fad than they do protecting the morale and integrity of their fighting units.

For the troops in the field it may be "no man left behind," but in the Pentagon it’s "no job left unfunded."

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

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For the troops in the field it may be "no man left behind," but in the Pentagon it’s "no job left unfunded."
pentagon, government waste, department of defense
Friday, 09 December 2016 04:57 PM
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