Record-breaking ‘defense’ bill squanders unfathomable amounts on dysfunctional, unwanted weapons systems
War business has always been good business. Unfortunately, this fiscal year appears to be another banner year for the military-industrial complex, with a record-breaking National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) laden with tons of unnecessary program spending. which have nothing to do with national defence.
This year, the Pentagon will receive the largest budget yet, as you are rewarded with more money when you fail your fifth audit in a row. (Only $2.1 trillion unexplained, it doesn’t matter.)
There’s so much in the NDAA to analyze and critique that I’m not sure I can fit it in one article, let alone two, so for now I’m going to focus on what’s the worst part of the NDAA and the most dangerous. Again, the Pentagon will be getting tons of taxpayer money to fund useless weapons systems.
Here’s why I voted no on the NDAA. We spend billions on weapon systems our military doesn’t want, but teachers are forced to fight for dollar bills in the field because our schools are so underfunded. As a congressman and brother of two public school teachers, that’s shameful. https://t.co/81ARFZsjpf
— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) December 13, 2021
I’m a bit of a war hawk, if I’m going to be honest. I want the army to be deadly and tough, and I know the importance of being able to fight the bad guys.
However, if you think the system is designed to do all of this, you are wrong. Instead, the system is designed to feed the beast of defense contractors and trick voters into voting for the same politicians who do nothing for them in the long run.
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In this NDAA, there is $10 billion allocated to the F-35, the most expensive weapons program in Pentagon history, with an estimated total of $1.5 trillion. Here is the kicker, however, the The F-35 may never see combat.
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Not because we do such a job to avoid wars, but because the system itself is plagued with more problems than I can count. The NDAA has also set aside money to build more aircraft carriers to the tune of $13 billion each.
Sounds good, except the Navy recently said that aircraft carriers are increasingly vulnerable to modern high-velocity missiles. But why invest in modern maritime warfare when we can continue to build the same legacy ships of yesteryear?
The NDAA ensures that AZ companies continue to manufacture and innovate new weapons systems and defense technologies. #NDAA=AZJOBS #AZSEN
— Team McCain (@TeamMcCain) November 10, 2015
Funding a proxy war
The most alarming section of the NDAA is titled “Temporary Authorizations Related to Ukraine and Other Matters”. Besides the fact that the “other questions” are dangerously and generally vague, the funded items raise my eyebrows.
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In this section there is funding for the following systems for Ukraine:
- 742 HIMARS rocket systems
- 20,000 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles
- 25,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles
Now let’s see what we’ve actually sent of these items to Ukraine so far:
- 38 HIMAR
- 1,400 darts
- 8,500 javelins
That’s a huge amount of funding for a very large number of weapon systems. It’s also not like these systems can be built quickly.
It is not difficult to take the step that the government and the military-industrial complex expect, and I imagine hope, that this war in Ukraine will last long into the future, lining their pockets and fueling the war machine.
Voted against the inflated #NDAAWe should rebuild America, not throw money at weapons systems the Pentagon doesn’t even want.
— Rep. Jared Huffman (@RepHuffman) May 22, 2014
This year, the NDAA reached $858 billion, an increase of $80 billion from last year. The only increase is more … than the entire military budget of the following countries:
The increase is also larger than Russia’s 2021 military budget. An important detail is that the budget includes an additional $45 billion that the Pentagon and White House did not request.
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What is this extra money for? More combat ships, planes and helicopters that the Ministry of Defense did not request.
How is it going ? Politicians are adding items to a Herculean budget in a bid to get back to their constituents and claim they’ve helped ‘create jobs’ in their districts through the ruse of increased defense spending to protect the homeland .
It would be fun to impose an audit requirement in an NDAA that essentially freezes all new weapons system purchases and testing of systems to be put into production until the Pentagon can pass an audit. But Congress won’t for some reason pic.twitter.com/uSbk6SJNrD
— Will Thomas, MLS (@caribouwireless) July 28, 2022
Built to fail
It is estimated that more than half of NDAAs over the years have gone to defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon. Although I rarely have a kind word for giant defense contractors, I have to give them some credit; even they raise flags regarding the massive funding bill.
Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes put it like this:
“The real question is, can we actually build it? They can take all the money, but… if we take months and months and months to get a contract, it’s months and months late.
Let’s break down what Mr. Hayes is referring to. The pandemic has destroyed many industries, and although the military-industrial complex has kept its pulse, it must have felt the pain of the pandemic like all other industries.
Labor shortages, inflationary blows and supply chain disruptions have made it increasingly difficult for defense contractors to meet their targets and budget. But even if the pandemic hadn’t put a wrench in the system, it’s designed to fail, and we’ve all gotten used to it.
When the Pentagon fails five consecutive audits and loses track of $2 trillion, Congress assigns them a $900 billion budget
When Congress overspends, causing massive inflation, people are rewarded with Congress taking OUR money to hire 87,000 IRS officers to check OUR tax returns
— Chief Libertarian (@ToddHagopian) December 3, 2022
Spend, Spend, Spend!
For 20 years I served in the military, and it was the same every year around August time. A frantic race to spend all the money we received from Congress because if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have so much next year.
It doesn’t matter if we needed any of the things we bought; it only mattered that we spent the funds before October 1st. But, unfortunately, because we’ve gotten used to the government not passing a defense budget on October 1st but instead forcing the DOD to live in what’s called a Continuing Resolution Authority (CRA) , this has worsened the situation dozens of times.
An ARC is meant to be a band-aid to allow the government to continue essential mandatory functions, but puts a hold on any new projects or funding. As a Principal Investigator at the American Enterprise Institute Mackenzie Eaglen Explain:
“What you see are program officers holding money and rewards for contracts…then there’s the inflated expenses at the end of the fiscal year over the last six months – and sometimes they are not well spent, for they are in a hurry.”
Sometimes? That’s an understatement, but you get the point.
The Pentagon can’t account for $2.2 trillion and the only places reporting it are ThePoliticalInsider and crypto Twitter. 🤷🏻♂️https://t.co/OhqQAk3bZx
— 🟩 Dr. Martin Hiesboeck (@MHiesboeck) December 13, 2022
The defense budget and the system it enables have become a monster with an unquenchable thirst for more. One day it will catch up with us, and we will have to face the embarrassment of the fact that, although we have funded our army to the fullest, we are still not prepared to defend this country, let alone others.
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