Department of Everything
A more narrow focus within the Department of Defense might free up nearly $68 billion over 10 years – money which would be better spent in more direct support of the military, says Senator Tom Coburn.
His recently released report, titled “Department of Everything” names what he calls duplicative and wasteful programs that he argues have little to do with our nation’s security. However, he also puts two DoD activities on the chopping block that some service members and retirees may take issue with: commissaries and elementary schools. Sen. Coburn says those two programs alone would eat up more than $24 billion in the next decade.
In his report, Sen. Coburn claims some of the more duplicitous among the DoD’s expenditures are:
- Alternative Energy – $700 million
- Non-Military Research and Development – $6 billion
- Commissaries – $9 billion
- Overhead, Support and Supply Services – $37 billion
- Stateside DoD Elementary Schools and STEM programs – $15.2 billion
He also calls out some of the more unusual DoD projects funded by taxpayer dollars:
- 100-year Starship Project – $1 million
- “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” workshop – $100,000
- Pentagon-branded beef jerky
- Grill it Safe, a reality cooking show featuring two “Grill Sergeants”
- Pentagon-operated microbreweries
- Research on social interactions between robots and babies
- Development of a smartphone app to alert users when to take a coffee break
So if all $67.8 billion was restored to the DoD’s military spending, what would that pay for? According to Sen. Coburn that funding could cover:
- 1/3 of the cost of the USAF’s planned fleet of new strategic bombers
- 1/3 of the cost of replacing the Navy’s fleet of Ohio-class nuclear submarines
- Modernization or purchase of new rifles and light machine guns for every soldier in the Army.
What do you think of the Senator’s report? Would you cut everything he suggests? Is it fair to call commissaries and elementary schools duplicitous? Do you think the DoD is like a Department of Everything? Let us know in the comments.