Winslow Wheeler: Pentagon Hiding $125B in Waste — and the Report It Asked For… + Waste Reference Library

Corruption, Military
Winslow Wheeler
Winslow Wheeler

Bottom line up front: one quarter, 25%, of the Pentagon's annual budget, is spent on overhead, not on troops or weapons or mobility systems.

As a businessman, President-Elect Trump should understand that more money for a system this sick is a step in the wrong direction and that a take-no-prisoners manager (with a proven record for same) as the #2 in the Pentagon (as Deputy Secretary) is a must.

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology.

The study was produced last year by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, and consultants from McKinsey and Company. Based on reams of personnel and cost data, their report revealed for the first time that the Pentagon was spending almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management.

Read full article.

Phi Beta Iota:  Waste across the US Government, not only in the Department of Defense, is roughly 50% on average — in DoD, from 45% in weapons acquisition to 75% in Afghanistan. This is “business as usual.” Below are some additional articles on waste across DoD.


More Bucks, Less Bank,” Project on Government Oversight, undated, accessed July 3, 2016.

Dan Coats, “Coats Highlights Wasteful Defense Spending on Weapons Acquisition,” US, June 8, 2016.

William Hartung, “A Golden Age for Pentagon Waste,” US News & World Report, February 3, 2016.

William Hartung, “The US Military—What a Waste,” TruthDig, April 11, 2016.

Paul Sperry, “We wasted $113B in Afghanistan, no wonder ‘America First” resonates,” New York Post, May 15, 2016.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, “The US spends more on defense than the next seven countries combined,” Peter G. Peterson Foundation (14 April 2016).


Jacqueline Leo and Brianna Ehley, “With $8.5 Trillion Unaccounted for, Why Should Congress Increase the Defense Budget?,” The Fiscal Times, March 19, 2015.

Peter Swarts, “Pentagon could waste $100 million overpaying for spare parts, watchdog says,” Air Force Times, June 5, 2015.

Charles Tiefer, “Huge Waste in $604 Billion Defense Bill Heads for Obama Veto,” Forbes, October 4, 2015.


Perry Chiaramonte,  “War on waste: Pentagon auditor spotlights US billions blown in Afghanistan,” Fox News (28 July 2014).

Matthew Gault, “Here’s How the Military Wasted Your Money in 2014: New year, old problems,”, January 1, 2014.


Scot Paltrow, “Behind the Pentagon’s doctored ledgers, a running tally of epic waste,” Reuters (18 November 2013).

Scot J. Paltrow, “Special Report: The Pentagon’s doctored ledgers conceal epic waste,” Reuters, November 18, 2013.


Scott Amey, “DoD Contractors Cost Nearly 3 Times More than DoD Civilians,” PogoBlog, November 30, 2012.


Jeffrey St. Clair, Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror, Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2005.

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