Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

December 26, 2018 Dollars wasted at the Pentagon has weakened miltary might
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

In a July 21, 2017, memo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis made promising comments about his ambitions to end wasteful spending at the Pentagon. He wrote that he expected “leaders at all levels in the department to exercise the utmost degree of stewardship over every penny” spent and that “only by instilling budget discipline, by establishing a culture of cost awareness, and by holding ourselves accountable, can we earn the trust and confidence of the Congress and the American people that we are the best possible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

I’ve spent more than three decades reviewing egregious spending at the Defense Department. The sentiments expressed in the memo were encouraging, so much so that I sent Secretary Mattis a letter of support.

Since then, however, it seems the department has done little to change its ways. Over the past few months alone, the Defense Department has had to explain why it’s been paying $14,000 for individual 3-D printed toilet seat lids and purchasing cups for $1,280 each.

These are just the latest examples on a long list of unacceptable purchases made by the department, including $436 for hammers in the 1980s, and $117 soap dish covers and $999 pliers in the 1990s.

These wasteful expenditures reflect major underlying financial problems at the department, whose 2019 budget is more than $700 billion.

Taxpayers pay billions of dollars annually to fund Pentagon programs that are supposed to increase battle readiness, support military personnel and protect national security. Every wasted dollar weakens America’s military might and takes resources away from our men and women in uniform and their families.

Americans routinely balance their checkbooks, scrutinize their credit card statements and review their banking phone apps to manage their household budgets. There’s no reason the Defense Department can’t effectively do the same thing.

Ultimately Pentagon leaders must hold every department under them – including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps – accountable for their financial failings. They need to heed the words of Secretary Mattis and live up to his promise that they’ll be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.

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