By William D. Hartung
The revelation this week by “The Washington Post” that the Pentagon buried a report that exposed $125 billion in waste in the department’s administrative operations is just the latest indication that it is more interested in padding its budget than spending taxpayer dollars wisely.
Reducing this entrenched bureaucracy should be a top priority for the new administration and the new Congress that take office in January.
This is not the first time the issue of the billions in unnecessary bloat in the Pentagon’s budget has been raised.
A 2010 report by the Defense Business Board uncovered similar problems, citing an “explosion of overhead work because the Department has failed to establish adequate controls to keep it in line.”
And as Gordon Adams, former director of the Office and Management and Budget for defense issues, has noted, the cost of the Pentagon’s back office has “basically doubled per active duty troop since 2000.”
In short, a huge portion of the Pentagon’s buildup in the 2000s has paid for bureaucracy, not combat capability. The business board report made specific recommendations of how to fix the problem, but few were implemented.