Restoring Affordability

by reader Ilsm

Restoring Affordability
Waste, Unneeded Programs Hinder Modernization
By ASHTON CARTER Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Technology and Logistics
Published: 19 July 2010

Read the whole article at Defense News

Ashton Carter says:

“The department spends approximately $700 billion annually for our country’s defense. About $300 billion of this is spent inside the department, on the salaries and benefits of military personnel and civilian employees. But the remainder – $400 billion – is spent on goods-and-services contracts with entities outside the Defense Department.”

Carter’s use of the word “defense” is ministry of truth speak, so little of that $700B is for defense to be insignificant, I will not go to the propaganda contained in appeals to a “nation at war” or ill defined “capabilities” against no threats.

Mr. Carter is to “find” reductions on the order of $100B over 5 years from $3,500 billion of planned outlays. Worse the miniscule savings will not be returned to the taxpayer or lenders as Under Secretary of Defense Lynn, a former industry insider:

“Expects that two-thirds of the savings transferred to war-fighting accounts, or approximately $67 billion, should come about this way.”

As a contrast the UK Ministry of Defence will consume approximately $67 billion or 44billion pounds in one year for their whole defence establishment. That is a bit less than 7% of UK government outlays compared to the US military which consumes just under 20% of USG outlays in 2010, about the same as social security. There will be a one percent increase in the DoD bottom line in 2011; in fact the Deputy Secretary of Defense plan is to use cash drained from the economies to grow the war machines’ “capability”.

Mr. Carter states:

“To realize these savings, real productivity gains must be achieved.”

Like in real industries, not the socialized US security apparatus.

He says:

“Unfortunately, this is not the case. For the past decade, more has been costing more. We need to arrest this trend now.”

I observed firsthand how in the past few decades the DoD has been subjected to similar efficiency drives, streamlining, outside commissions, performance based contracts, reengineering and so forth. Mr. Carter’s statement is true for the past 50years despite repeated half hearted efforts at fixing pentagon monopsony spending. This is a reason why the Sec Def is closing the business transformation office, it did nothing at all.

Mr. Carter recognizes the cause, congress, encouraged by the “undue influence” from the concentration of trillions of taxpayer dollars in the security monopsony supports corporate welfare and local jobs programs.

He says:

“We also need the help of Congress. Members of Congress observe with dismay as they are asked to approve ever-increasing funding for the same product or service. We will need their input and support to make necessary adjustments that will in some cases be difficult.”

See how the two senators from Virginia are reacting to the idea of closing Joint Forces Command, a military think tank which makes up capabilities to spend money. Closing it is a good thing. But with little pay back, $240M a year from a $700,000 M budget.

There is no conviction behind trying to save $20B out of $700B annual budgets when the nation is $14 trillion in debt.

And the first time some civil servant tried to make a contractor perform and it costs profit the same effects which prevented savings in the past will arise and the industry will continue to require more money to deliver less “capability”. Whatever “capability” is and how it relates to “defense”.

Updated from: CNN