POGO Source Page, May 8, 2012
Americans are tightening their belts, and it’s time for the U.S. government to do the same. In light of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the subsequent failure of the “Super Committee,” Congress is still desperately seeking ways to reduce spending. To this end, the Project On Government Oversight and Taxpayers for Common Sense have closely examined the proposed national security budget and found plenty of wasteful spending. Adjusted for inflation, U.S. national security spending is higher than at any point during the Cold War and accounts for more than half of all discretionary spending. However, the U.S. faces no existential threats as it did then, and U.S. defense needs are changing as the military draws down its presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Still, military spending at the Department of Defense (DoD) has increased by an astounding 95 percent from FY 2001 to the FY 2013 estimate, adjusted for inflation. Nuclear weapons spending at the Department of Energy (DOE) is projected to grow by billions of dollars over the next decade. And the federal government’s reliance on contractors, most of whom work on national security-related work and cost on average nearly twice as much as the federal workers who do the same job, is also driving budgets through the roof. It’s clear that any serious proposal to shrink the U.S. deficit must include cuts to the national security budget.
The following list updates our recommendations from 2011 and details nearly $700 billion in savings over the next ten years, including cuts to wasteful weapons systems as well as limits on out-of-control contract spending. We found programs for which there are cheaper yet equally effective alternatives, and programs that can be cancelled or delayed without putting America’s security at risk.
The Project On Government Oversight is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.
Taxpayers for Common Sense is a nonpartisan budget watchdog serving as an independent voice for American taxpayers. Its mission is to achieve a government that spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and operates within its means. TCS works with individuals, policymakers, and the media to increase transparency, expose and eliminate wasteful and corrupt subsidies, earmarks, and corporate welfare, and hold decision makers accountable.