For all the talk about spending and debt, wars are never on the table.

By Jon Basil Utley
December 1, 2017
The American Conservative

For all the talk about the big Republican tax cut it’s really only about $150 billion per year—although proponents multiply it by 10 years, so that $1.5 trillion sounds like a lot. Arguments about how to pay for it may end up derailing or neutering it in the end. Which is ironic, since Trump wants to add $50 billion to the defense budget. But no one wants to talk about defense waste during these tax debates. Why is the Pentagon budget untouchable?

The waste in defense today is incredible. It’s not that Americans don’t inherently care: My 2013 article, 16 Ways to Cut Defense is still at the top of the search engines after four years. Just to mention a few of the 16 ways: Cut some of the 4,000 military bases in the U.S. Most of them were set up in horse and buggy days before highways and helicopters brought them all closer together. Another, combine the Army and Navy hospital system. Furthermore, TRICARE costs another $50 billion to give mainly non-combat veterans free family health insurance for the rest of their lives.

Here’s another suggestion: Test military weaponry before the Pentagon orders it. There is vast corruption in placing supply factories in key congressional districts to build a constituency for new weapons even before their design is tested. The biggest boondoggle from this is the $1.4 trillion F-35 fighter plane program. We should return to bidding out contracts for the lowest costs.

As for personnel, cut the number of civilian Pentagon employees, which is now around 800,000 persons. There are too many officers—the Army and Navy have about one for every four to five enlisted men, some triple the number compared to World War II. Generals are equally super abundant and never get fired. In World War II, General Marshall fired dozens of them. And when every bomb now hits its target why do we need so many bombers?

And let’s not forget the trillion-dollar nuclear weapons modernization program started by President Obama, and continued with President Trump, which will add new nuclear weapons to the arsenal.

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