Pentagon Mocks Sequester with New Millions Wasted
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The Fiscal Times
September 12, 2013

While Pentagon officials fret over how the second wave of over $60 billion in budget cuts mandated by the sequester will undermine military readiness, and lawmakers warn against the potentially expensive strike in Syria, the Defense Department continues wasting millions on various programs.

From spending $1.5 trillion on a fleet of fighter jets that can’t fly, to tossing millions developing its own brand of beef jerky, the DOD is no stranger to government waste.

RELATED: THE GOVERNMENT WASTES MORE MONEY THAN YOU THINK 

In the last week, the Government Accountability Office and the Defense Department’s Inspector General released a spate of reports highlighting waste within the Defense Department.

Here are several of the most recent examples:

Delayed Navy Aircraft Carrier Goes Over-Budget
The GAO on Friday blasted the DOD for delays and cost overruns for the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford. The carrier is already 22 percent over budget and will not likely be ready in time for its commissioning deadline in 2016.

This is the first of three new nuclear-powered carriers that cost at least $43 billion. The GAO warned that the technical design and construction challenges have already led to significant cost increases and will likely lead to more. The auditors also said that delays and cost overruns to the USS Gerald Ford will likely threaten construction of the second carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy.

In response, the Pentagon said the GAO’s concerns were “overstated.” Still, it agreed to rework its testing schedule.

Overpriced AFRICOM Headquarters: 

GAO reported Monday that the Pentagon didn’t use a well-documented analysis to assess the cost-effectiveness of keeping AFRICOM’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The agency suggested that if AFRICOM was moved to the United States it could save up to $70 million each year and potentially create more than 4,300 jobs.

“Until the costs and benefits of maintaining AFRICOM in Germany are specified and weighed against the costs and benefits of relocating the command, the department may be missing an opportunity to accomplish its missions successfully at a lower cost,” the auditor said. 

DARPA Didn’t Properly Screen Contract Bids
DOD’s Inspector General reported Friday that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency slacked off on certain portions of its contract bid review, a competitive process that could determine which company would receive awards. The IG said there were flaws in DARPA’s scientific review process and that it missed Federal Acquisition Regulation requirements in 35 of 36 contracts, which totaled $426.4 million. 

Vehicle Mismanagement Wastes $2 Million
Due to staffing shortages, the DOD failed to manage its nontactical vehicles in the Washington, DC region in the National-Capital Region, costing the department nearly $2 .5 million in 2011. An audit released by the IG said the Navy, Defense Logistics Agency, Pentagon Force Protection Agency and Washington Headquarters Services did not perform annual mileage reviews or daily mileage logs for all of the 774 nontactical vehicles in the region.   

Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.