America Spends Trillions of Dollars on the Army, Wasted or Necessary?

   

In 2021, the US Congress signed an unbelievable amount of nearly 778 billion dollars to spend on the Pentagon and the work related to nuclear warheads at the Department of Energy (DoE). The amount is higher than the $25 billion mark the Pentagon has requested.

It is impossible to know exactly how much public funding is currently pouring into the Pentagon. Recently, President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan increased the budget by more than four times compared to the previous version, which caused fierce opposition from Senators Joe Manchin and Senators. other fiscal conservatives.

The most obvious thing is that the US military-industrial complex is consuming more of the budget than most. The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that if current trends continue, the Pentagon could hit the $7.3 trillion mark within the next decade, more than a decade at the height of two wars. During the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there were 190,000 US troops present in these two countries alone.

Sadly, President Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops and contractors from Afghanistan has not yielded even the slightest peaceful profit. The fact is that the US spends three times more on military spending than China. The Pentagon’s budget is not only huge, but also too wasteful: the extra costs are too large for components, to weapons that are not yet needed to be used in future warfare… In short, the level of spending. The current goal of the Pentagon is judged as both unnecessary and unreasonable.

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Headquarters TransGigm, one of the military parts suppliers to the Pentagon. Image source: Clevescen.

The Pentagon’s “whistleblower”

Overloading military parts to the Pentagon has a long and exaggerated history, reaching its peak in public under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The media has reported it. The hype about the $640 toilet and $7,600 coffee machine caused public outrage and a string of hearings on Capitol Hill, strengthening the spines of members of Congress. In those years, public pressure was exerted to limit the excessive military expansion of the Reagan administration.

These stories were only really known to the public by Ernest Fitzgerald, the Pentagon “whistleblower”. Fitzgerald initially made its mark by exposing the US Air Force’s efforts to hide billions of dollars in costs for the giant Lockheed C-5A airlifter. At the time, former Air Force Secretary Verne Orr described Fitzgerald as “the most hated guy in the air force”.

Fitzgerald and other Pentagon insiders have become a hot source of information for Dina Rasor, a young journalist who is attracting media and congressional attention over the parts price spree. other anomalies in the military. Eventually, Ms. Rasor founded an organization called the Military Procurement Project (PMP) to investigate and expose waste, fraud and exploitation.

The PMP later evolved into the Government Oversight Project (POGO), currently the most effective watchdog for Pentagon spending. For example, a recent POGO analysis documented the underperformance of TransGigm, the military parts supplier that the Defense Department’s inspector general caught red-handed with the Pentagon overcharging as much as 3,800 % for regular items. Strangely, the Pentagon’s purchasing rules prevented the contract officer from knowing the exact information for any of the categories, so there would be off-the-books costs for the manufacturing companies.

To put it bluntly, thanks to these regulations, supervisors are completely blind to literally controlling costs. And companies that supply military parts have taken full advantage of that. Indeed, the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General discovered more than 100 overcharges of TransDigm alone that amounted to $20.8 million. A comprehensive audit of all parts suppliers would inevitably uncover billions of dollars in waste. And in the end, complete weapon systems will cost sky-high. As Ernest Fitzgerald once quipped, “A military aircraft will only be part of a collection of expensive spare parts that fly in formation.”

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The Pentagon is under pressure from intense scrutiny due to wasteful spending. Image source: NationofChange.

Equip weapons without asking the price

The next level of Pentagon waste involves weapons they don’t care about price, weapons systems with record high amounts of money. It is possible to point to the F-35 fighter, a multi-role aircraft. The Pentagon purchased more than 2,400 F-35s to equip the Air Force, Navy and Marines.

The lifetime cost of acquiring and operating the F-35 fleet is $1.7 trillion making it the most expensive weapons project ever for the Pentagon. In theory, the parts for thousands of F-35s would be made identical. However, the shortcomings of this aircraft line are many that cannot be mentioned. Initially, the F-35 was intended to provide air support for infantry, but in reality, the existing A-10 “Warthog” attack was better and much cheaper.

A Pentagon review from 2021 of the F-35 has “scanned” up to 800 errors in the plane! Typical of the waste with this type of aircraft is the high-tech helmet costing up to $400,000 each, intended to give pilots a special awareness of what is happening around, below. airplanes as well as the horizon. And let’s not forget that the F-35 has a staggering maintenance cost of up to $38,000 per flight hour.

In December 2020, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, stated, “I’m sick of throwing money at the F-35s.” Even the former Air Force Chief of Staff, General Charles Brown, expressed disappointment that the F-35 did not achieve its original goal, so it was necessary to add a cheaper fighter. There’s no good reason to spend money on building more F-35s right now.

After all, at this point, the Pentagon is focusing all its efforts on developing long-range missiles, hypersonic weapons, and unmanned vehicles to take on adversaries across the hemisphere. The Pentagon also cites the argument that building the F-35 is a way to create more jobs in the states or counties of key members of Congress. But applying weapons manufacturing to job growth has long pushed Pentagon spending beyond what is deemed necessary to protect America and its allies.

Besides, not only has the F-35 been criticized for being wasted, but there are also similar systems in history that have been considered junk, prominent among them being the Littoral Coastal Combat Ship (LCS) but basically The version is an F-35 at sea. The US Navy is currently trying to give a new mission to the LCS but has not been successful. This includes buying old aircraft carriers for $13 billion, and spending $250 billion on a new nuclear-tipped missile called the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrence System (GBSD).

According to former US Secretary of Defense William Perry, “ground-to-surface missile systems are among the world’s scariest diabolical weapons, because the President has only a few minutes to decide whether to launch or not. when alerted to the enemy’s nuclear attack.” In other words, a false alarm could lead to a nuclear explosion on the planet.

Global Zero has convincingly demonstrated that getting rid of surface-to-air missiles instead of building new ones will make America and the rest of the world safer. Eliminating intercontinental ballistic missiles would be a profitable and cost-effective first step toward nuclear sanity, as analyst Daniel Ellsberg and other experts have warned.

The hidden corner of the US defense industrial complex -0
AR helmets are equipped for pilots flying F-35 fighter jets. Each one costs 400,000 USD, among the most expensive in the world. Image source: UploadVR.

Global defense strategy

After all, America’s biggest waste is its global military coverage strategy, which includes a “planetary footprint” of more than 750 military bases, more than 200,000 troops stationed overseas. , huge and expensive carrier task forces plying seven seas, and a massive arsenal of nuclear weapons capable of destroying all life (with thousands of spare warheads).

Just looking at the economic and human costs of the events of 9/11 is enough to understand why the US is expensive for such a strategy. According to the war project of Brown University (Rhode Island, USA), the conflicts initiated by the US this century have cost 8 trillion USD with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, thousands of American soldiers died, along with hundreds of thousands of others with brain damage and post-traumatic stress disorder. Loss a lot, what to do? In Iraq, the US paved the way for a sectarian regime to create the conditions for ISIS to sweep and invade key areas of the country, costing many lives and property.

And in Afghanistan, after a period of invasion and destruction, the US finally had to withdraw, the power to run this country today fell into the hands of the Taliban. Despite the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, spending on global counterterrorism operations has remained high, due to continued operations by special operations forces, repeated airstrikes, aid and military training continued, along with involvement in large-scale warfare.

By the end of 2021, in his “Global Posture of Force” assessment, President Biden prioritized maintaining key bases in the Middle East, while promoting a modest US troop presence in East Asia. . On the other hand, the “China threat” has been exaggerated by the Pentagon to help keep or increase defense spending in recent years. Among the organizations calling for increased funding for the Pentagon is the US National Defense Strategy Committee (NDSC), which is working in an advisory role in the weapons industry. The NDSC calls for a 3% to 5% increase in the Pentagon’s annual budget in the near future.

By the middle of this decade, the Pentagon could increase its budget by as much as $1 trillion, according to an analysis by the non-profit organization Ordinary Taxpayers. In March 2022, the Pentagon is expected to announce a new national defense strategy and budget for fiscal year 2023. Notably, the Biden administration will abandon dangerous nuclear weapons programs (and unnecessary) which has been rekindled since the time of Donald Trump.

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