Pentagon Study Shows $125 Billion In Waste That Can Be Cut . . . Pentagon Promptly Buries Study

300px-The_Pentagon_January_2008On this blog, we have often discussed and lamented how billions are wasted in the government, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, without the slightest accountability of officials or serious reforms. The problem is especially prominent in the military. Now, the Washington Post has acquired an internal study that found $125 billion in waste from bloated staff to needless redundancies. The response of the Defense Department in the Obama Administration was swift and firm . . . it buried the report so neither Congress nor the media would see it. It is good to see that our bureaucrats can still move aggressively when called to action.

The study by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, and consultants from McKinsey and Company only looked at the back-office bureaucracy rather than weapons problems with an eye to make it more efficient. The report, issued in January 2015,found $125 billion ion savings over five years that would not require any layoffs or reductions. Rather it could reach these goals through attrition and early retirements as well as modernization of systems.

The study found 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. The back-office staff included 1,014,000 contractors, civilians and uniformed personnel. So the Pentagon has a back staff of over 1 million people supporting an active force of 1.3 million. Not exactly an efficient ratio.

Here is the article: The Washington Post

57 thoughts on “Pentagon Study Shows $125 Billion In Waste That Can Be Cut . . . Pentagon Promptly Buries Study”

  1. Hillary is a mess. Always has been. Always will be. American just dodged a bullet. And Obama is the greatest fraud and con ever perpetrated on the American people. The truth always comes out, eventually.

  2. The spending on the wars which has been unaccountable is not new and certainly non partisan.

  3. Pentagon spending has always been sickly fascinating to me. First, we don’t really have a good accounting of what’s actually being spent because we have both a black budget and a budget that takes place through fake businesses run and things like pimping and drug running by the CIA (for one, but not the only one).

    We haven’t had a real accounting of the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan, which years back was put at 4 trillion. We fly drones, have surveillance around the world and up to 8 wars with Obama hoping to go for number 9 with Russia! This govt. supports ISIS and other terrorist organizations around the globe. We have no idea how much all this is actually costing but if you think of what is involved, the cost must be astronomical.

    It is therefore really weird that we always have money for these crazed projects which kill people and do other types of great harm, while the govt. claims they cannot find money to repair our infrastructure or fund school lunches. They way a society spends money tells you exactly what it’s values are and for USGinc. that value is world domination.

    Like others, I am amazed at how Obama is never held to account for his actions. I’ve even heard people blaming McCain! Now it’s Trump. Yes, we should keep a real strong eye on Trump. A good way to practice that is to start keeping a real good eye on the guy in power, right now, who is lying and cheating all the way!

    I’d like to see that study get wide release in the most transparent administration ever and I’d really like to see the real budget for all the crazed things this govt. spends on the offense dept.!

  4. Something to read. Turley is one of the attorneys that is included in the democratic list to replace any of the retiring SCOTUS Justices. Love you.

    Sent from my iPad


  5. Remember when Rumsfeld announced that the Defense Dpt. could not account for THREE TRILLION dollars that had gone missing? That little problem was solved by 9/11 — the most costly (in more ways than one)
    criminal conspiracy ever carried out by the U.S. government and its allies in ISRAEL & probably Saudi Arabia,

    Larry “Pull it” Silverstein also made a nice profit that day. He sure was prescient in deciding to forego his usual routine of having breakfast on the 110th floor on that day. No wonder they call him Lucky Larry.

  6. The biggest problem in the federal government is the “executives.” I work in an extremely bloated agency with one manager for every four employees. The secretaries had their job titles changed to “staff assistants” by the execs so that they could get GS-13s, the same pay as accountants and attorneys. People love to bash federal civil servant employees, but they have no control over the waste, fraud and abuse in the government. It is the Executives who make all these staffing and contracting decisions. They love to take one job and divide it into four, and then hire a manager to supervise their unnecessary creation. It’s all about bloating their staff so that they can claim that they oversee a huge department and a huge budget, even though the monstrosity they created is completely unnecessary. People who haven’t worked in the government don’t get it. They blame the mess on rank-and-file employees who have no say in anything. And they repeat the nonsense that you can’t fire a federal employee, even though in truth all the manager has to do is put the employee on a PIP (performance improvement plan), and if the employee doesn’t improve in 90 days, he’s fired.

    Wasteful government is the direct result of bad management. Most federal executives have never worked anywhere but the federal government. In my agency, about 1/4 of the “executives” don’t have college degrees. About another 1/4 have degrees from for-profit colleges like Strayer that the govt paid for. A huge percentage of execs are affirmative action, although I can’t say their performance is any worse than the non-AA. They are pretty much all completely unqualified to be managers of anything, much less to be given the pay and responsibility of “senior executives.” And to my surprise, I found out recently by reading a Washington Post articles that Senior Executives are almost impossible to fire. Congress had to pass special legislation to authorize removal of some of the execs at the VA, and is now considering expanding that all all federal agencies. But as it stands, federal executives, now matter how incompetent, are protected in their positions.

    1. Tin, I didn’t know you worked for the “gubment.” I am heartened to know there are righteous people like yourself working for us taxpayers.

      1. Thanks, Nick. I worked in the private sector many for years following college, then took a federal LEO position.

    2. TIN….Thanks for sharing this perspective. I worked in private sector for 15 years before I took a mid-level government agency job in Washington DC. I believe it was the second day on the job when I had about three different people say to me, “you come from the private sector don’t you?” Why did they say this? Because within hours, as a brand new employee, I had handled some things that other staffers had ‘been working on’ for months. The way I handled things and expected things to get done was totally out of sync with the rest of the department. Needless to say I didn’t last long due to the frustration of working for and with perfectly nice, but astoundingly incompetent people.

  7. It starts with the spigot. The more open the spigot the less focus on economy. The less open the spigot the more focus on economy. The Congress and Senate when they rant and rave about being patriots and defending America are the most hypocritical of all. They want jobs for their constituents in the defense industry, spending to pay back the oligarchs who own them, and a flag to wave for the simple minded. America is so far ahead of every other country combined when it comes to the military, the budget could be cut in half and US military force could easily defeat all comers. No country has ten nuclear carriers. No country has more than one nuclear carrier.

    The BS that is floated is a given. The proof is to be found in the recent election. At no time in American history was an election won purely on the basis of lies and misinformation. Presidents are elected and for whatever reason fail to complete their promises. Typically they are elected on honorable intentions and at the very least partial facts. What happens between the White House and the Congress and Senate, more often than not, can be called anything from broken promises to lies. However, Trump is the first President to be elected almost entirely on lies, exaggerations, and misinformation.

    It is always a sure fire vote getter to applaud the military. The military provides jobs. The military cannot be run as a business. The first step in reducing spending is to reduce spending. Then focus carefully on how to maintain and perhaps increase efficiency with the funds available. Infinite funding equals infinite corruption and waste.

    1. The military and VA health care system are the best arguments against socialism. I wonder why the right-wing doesn’t use those highly persuasive arguments. What would happen if we relied on the free market to decide how much it wants to pay for the US military?

    2. issac – I decided to vote for Trump when he posted what he was going to do in his first hundred days. Trump comes with no baggage. Clinton came with a trainload of baggage.

      1. Any one who ever believed that Hillary Clinton had ANYTHING to offer this country as president is so sadly mistaken and misguided and misinformed. Sad! Scary! Hillary is a mess. Always was. Always will be. She is the epitome of corruption and scandal. It has followed her since the first time she entered public life in Arkansas decades ago and it has never left her side. Scandal and corruption are a part of who Hillary is. There is a reason she lost so badly. The ‘People’ have always known she is a mess of scandal and corruption. Trump just saved America.

    3. It doesn’t “start w/ the spigot” Canadian Bacon. It starts w/ the water supply. Cut taxes by 50% across the board in 2017. Adjust for 2 years and cut them another 50% in 2019. You’ll see MUCH less waste, w/ much less HARD EARNED taxpayers money being taken. You can’t waste money you don’t have. Basic economics. Supply and demand. Of course socialists are retards when it comes to economics.

  8. Having spent 20 years in the Navy I can attest to the budget culture that is concerned with not only losing what you got during the last fiscal year but getting more for the next. The “Use it or lose it” mentality is drummed into each and every sailor and I suspect that is not unique to the Navy. My very first deployment to the Western Pacific in 1981 on a Destroyer Tender was an eyeopener for the waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. To prepare for deployment we would stock up on every imaginable item we “might” need. On the return trip and about 2 days out from Pearl Harbor, we were ordered to throw over the side an unimaginable amount inventory; pumps, lockers, tools, parts, etc.

    Ironically, my final assignment was as a Total Quality Coordinator. My job was to transform this culture of inefficient and ineffective methods into a process-focused one that had to measure and improve processes. That proved to be an impossible assignment because there was no risk for failure. Missions still needed support and the motivation to do Process Management/Activity-Based Costing gave way to readiness concerns. I learned resumes for lucrative post-service careers were dominated by the size of the budgets they were responsible for while on active duty. When those budgets are supported by the taxpayer, the only challenge is how to get more of it and not how to make what you get stretch further. Nothing will kill a career funded on taxpayer dollars quicker than a resume showing you managed to prove your organization can get by on less funding.

  9. Not just the Pentagon a lot of that is the Congressional side of the military industrial complex and those contractors from huge megacorps on down represent votes to be purchased. Major example is getting rid of the A10 close air support squadrons with no replacement in sight. F35 or whatever? Pilots from varied backgrounds including A10 drivers gave it a test and it got huge success ratings in all but one category. NO A10 drivers were asked how it would do in a close air support of infantry role. The absence in that category was very noticeable.

    So what will happen?

    They wanted a multi purpose plane but left out CAS. Instead they could have improved the Hogs to take on more roles. In the Iraq Wars both of them the Hogs took out more targets besides tanks than did any other category of aircraft.

    So once again the infantry is left with dwindling air support as the A10’s are facing a cutoff date of 2020. Nothing to replace them. No sweat Design an all not CAS plus aircraft. it will be ready in ten to twenty years of cost over runs.

    All approved by congress.

    Best place to make cuts? Where they haven’t been made. The Rear Echelons. Starting with the Pentagon. Then reverse the tooth to tail ratio by requirijng the Army to do like Marines and have everyone qualify in a Basic Infantry Skill. Once in place and honestly tested every year each rear area unit has on hand an immediate deployment list of 30% that can be deployed when needed .I picked that figure since in the combat arms below 70% is considered combat ineffective. Apply the same to the REMFs

    Add in a 30% reduction in civilian employees by attrition and retirement you’ll soon see a 30% or greater reduction in cost without losing battle field troop strengths After all without the ability to fight the rear area types have no reason to exist.

    But the main problem is congress voting for hog slop vote buying in exchange for votes. which means. the fault lies with the voters.

    1. They could significantly reduce the number of contract employees, and reassign the uniformed and civil service to functions where they are actually needed. But in my agency, the problem is with management. If you eliminate four employees, by reassignment, retirement or whatever, you lose one manager. And we have one branch chief for every two front-line managers. And one deputy for every two branch chiefs. Does anyone expect the hugely bloated management structure to go on a diet? It’s not going to happen so long as the decisions are made internally. These cushy management jobs are fiercely protected by the agency.

  10. Sorry, not buying. This is the Grace Commission II, which confounded wastefraudandabuse with clear policy choices.

  11. We’re going to rebuild our military, and Mexico is going to pay for it. Everytime they complain, it’s another F-35.

    But I’m sure the Steak-Salesman will sort this out going forward. He knows things. Great brain.

  12. During WWII, the German division was smaller than an American or British division primary because they were more efficient. There are too many generals in the Pentagon as it is and they are all making work for other people.

    1. False conclusion about the Wehrmacht. Who won and with a much smaller number of divisions?

      1. David B. Benson – Hitler was the Allies best general. And just how many divisions did the Red Army have?

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    1. MRE (“Meal, Ready to Eat”) come in a variety of food combinations. They are somewhat bland, but (usually) include salt/pepper, crackers, jelly, powdered juice mix, utensils, and sometimes, a heating element. They provide substantial nutrition, and are shelf-stable for a LONG time.

      I cannot more strongly recommend anyone who values their life and the lives of their loved ones, implement their own Military Industrial Complex, and purchase several cases. Beware they can be expensive.

      I earned the rank of Eagle Scout, which is something every NASA astronaut and several POTUS achieved. I don’t take the motto, “Always be prepared” lightly. Neither should you.

  14. Again, Turley, the Republican shill, omits the fact that Obama has sought to lower defense spending with the opposition of Republicans calling him a weak President. The internal corruption in government agencies has been going on for decades. Toilet seats costing thousands of dollars, hammers costing hundreds of dollars, and other such padding has plagued every administration. The military industrial complex, that Eisenhower warned of, has most of its roots in the Republican party. Democrats comply and take their sustenance as well but whenever a proposal to curb military spending is put forth it has been primarily the Republicans, and now Trump, who have championed the need for a stronger, larger, and more costly military. So, hypocrisy is still rampant on the Turley blog.

    Now, let’s hear about all those Democrats who have porked the public for defense contracts for their constituents. C’mon PS.

    1. Issac,
      So a Republican (Eisenhower) warns of the MIC and a Democrat (Obama) administration receives a defense study demonstrating a way to reduce defense expenditures and promptly buries it. And somehow you place blame it on the Republicans and a President-elect for the decisions of the current Democrat administration.

      Your willful ignorance is astounding.

      1. The only thing that is astounding, perhaps given your continual superficial engagement with the written word not that astounding at all, is that you don’t read to well. Over the past administration’s term it has been primarily the Republican party that has porked America for increased military spending, obstructing any attempt on Obama’s part to reign it in. You want to read, think, re-read, and think again. It helps.

        1. issac – I don’t believe that Obama actually submitted a budget until last year. How could he rein things in?

        2. Isaac.

          When when one criticizes another’s writing, one should be very careful with their own. Your first sentence is badly constructed and is missing a verb. Your second sentence is missing a comma and confuses verb tenses. Your third sentence is grammatically awkward. There is no indication that your intended recipient wants to do what you seem to suggest. A “may” or a possible “should” would clarify. In your last sentence, what is the “It”? Your sad level of critical writing falls short of the standard for credibility.

          1. Renegade – give issac a break, English is his second language. He grew up in Canada, ya know.

      2. Olly – BTW, there is a report today that Obama’s vacations have cost the taxpayers (just the ones who actually pay taxes) $85 million.

    2. Trump is filling his administration with generals, billionaires and ex Goldman Sachs executives. These contractors are entrenched and will only get more so. Just drive around Fairfax County and look at the mcmansions.

      1. Another forecaster; hold that prediction. Now justify the CURRENT administration’s dismissal of this study. Then, when Trump’s administration actually carries on in the same fashion THEN you’ll have a legitimate point.

        1. His appointments and the expected rise in defense spending indicate more of the same or even worse.

          1. I want to say this as often and as many places as can be seen: Obama is the greatest fraud and the greatest con EVER perpetrated on the American people. Wake up and smell the con, the hypocrisy, the fraud that is Barack H. Obama. Thank God for Trump.

        2. It’s like Obama is Teflon. Any problems in his current administration can be blamed no only on his predecessor 8 years ago, but on his replacement who has not even taken office.

          Perhaps we should just hold ever Administration accountable for its own reign. Olly is correct. Let’s recognize the fact that Obama’s Administration buried this report on ways to cut waste. That his cuts to military spending were different and did not focus solely on waste.

          The military is infamous for bureaucracy, which has the same inefficient effect that bureaucracies have around the world. But Bureaucracies are always treated like Gollum treated My Precious. It can be painful and difficult to trim waste without impacting efficiency. But it can be done. I’d rather save where we can and spend the money wiser on tooth to tail.

          1. Oh, and while we’re at it, could we please reform our government procurement system? We overpay and contractors under deliver so predictably.

      2. Trump wants to help America be a great country for ALL. Obama is the biggest fraud and con ever perpetrated on the American people. Wake up and smell the propoganda.

    3. Perhaps a review of the milspecs system would be of benefit to you. Have you ever tried to meet a milspec’s documentation requirement? Simply purchasing the latest off the shelf equipment for a war machine leads to a rapid degradation of operational readiness when the shelf no longer has the item, and the specs aren’t available. Your references to the seat and hammer are aged red herrings. But then, when was the last time you tried to fix a 20 yr old toilet or checked all the variations of toilet seats at Home Depot? Would you expect Home Depot to have the same 20 yr old item today? Even the attachment hardware has significant changes and some do not conform to the toilet. Now are you going to buy a new toilet with internal fittings, prep the floor, find the right ring, change out the water supply line or are you just going to call the plumber? If the plumber is union you will also pay for a helper.

  15. i pity the service members whose lives are ruined for alleged lack of resources to take care of their health care after they return from the wars our politicians love to start.

  16. The Department of Redundancy Department sure eats up a lot of cash. People need to complain more about the ROI on that mess…

  17. That is $400 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.

    Does anyone really think that the Pentagon will give up its comfortable life style?

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