Lawmakers Should Listen to the Budget Hawks, Not the Defense Hawks
March 19, 2015
By Lt. General Robert Gard and Angela Canterbury
There are plenty of ways the Pentagon could spend its money more efficiently. As McCain well knows, one of the most serious financial problems facing the nation is how so many taxpayer dollars are wasted on military programs that aren’t needed and on abuses in Pentagon spending. McCain has been a longtime critic of the infamous problems with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the poster child of Pentagon’s wasteful excess. The military has and will spend more on this aircraft than France and the United Kingdom together spend on defense in one year. What’s more, the F-35 hasn’t come close to proving its value and isn’t necessary to meet today’s security challenges.
Another mainstay in the Pentagon’s waste saga is the Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS. While the good news is that the Defense Department has reduced the number it plans to purchase, the bad news is the LCS costs over $300 millionmore per ship than was originally proposed. These ships have caught on fire and been plagued with other operational issues. And there are two versions of the faulty ship made by two different companies, which has dramatically increased the cost of building and maintaining the ships.
Cost overruns in weapons programs draining Pentagon coffers have been well documented. According to a recent Government Accountability Office assessment, more than half of the Pentagon’s top weapons programs increased in cost last year alone by $27 billion. To put that number in perspective, that’s about what the entire Department of Energy spends in one year and about half of the Department of Homeland Security’s annual budget.