THREE CHEERS FOR JOHN F. SOPKO
Many Republicans hold to the view that there should be no reduction in defense spending, none whatsoever. Although we must maintain the strongest military in the world with the ability to annihilate opponents wherever they may be and whenever they threaten our security, the Defense budget is bloated with an enormous amount of waste, fraud, and abuse. In short, the military, like all massive government bureaucracies, suffers from gross inefficiencies and abuses that cost taxpayers billions and provide them with no improved readiness; indeed, the wasteful spending harms readiness.
If every inspector general in the Department of Defense were as effective in ferreting out waste and abuse as John F. Sopko we would undoubtedly find tens of billions of dollars wasted each year.
Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, has uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending by the Department of Defense in the Afghan theater alone.
He discovered over $100 million in refundable airline tickets that the Department of Defense failed to process for refunding and, so, forfeited. He discovered a $34 million plus, football field sized command facility in Southwestern Afghanistan abandoned before it was ever used, because the decision of military higher ups to cancel the project never reached the field. He discovered a half a billion dollars spent on 20 propeller transport aircraft from Italy that were, upon purchase, incapable of flying and remain grounded at Kabul International Airport and Ramstein Air Force Base Germany because the spare parts needed are too costly. The order to use the planes was rescinded after it was discovered that the planes could not be rendered operational without an expenditure of another $200 million on spare parts atop a half a billion already expended for the inoperable planes.
Subscribe to the NewsWithViews Daily News Alerts!
In a report he released before Christmas, Special Inspector John F. Sopko said that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers paid $5.4 million for trash incinerators without first testing them only to discover that they do not work. Soldiers in Afghanistan who tried to use the incinerators found them useless. The Army has decided to render all of them scrap, literally throwing away over $5 million. The troops are now burning waste in open air pits and report that soldiers have been exposed to potential health hazards.
Anyone who thinks that the Department of Defense cannot afford to experience billions in budget cuts apparently ignores the fact that each year sums in the billions are likely being wasted by the military with little or no accounting.
Obama Administration planners are slicing funds required to maintain military readiness without seriously attacking the problem of waste and abuse. We ought first cut out the waste and abuse before cutting out muscle.
Click here to visit NewsWithViews.com home page.