February 06, 2015

Military Spending Reforms Needed | The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

Four U.S. senators who may be viewed by some as unlikely allies are sponsoring a bill that could be one small step toward a rational defense spending policy.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. has joined with Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and Rand Paul, R-Ky., on the bill. While observers of the Washington scene may wonder how lawmakers with such diverse views got together, the secret may be in the fact that to greater or lesser extents, three of the four - Manchin, Cruz and Paul - are considered mavericks within their parties.

Their bill would require that the Defense Department be prepared for an audit by 2017.

As Manchin pointed out in a press release, the Pentagon "is the only federal agency that has never fully complied with financial management laws and currently remains on the Government Accountability Office's 'high risk' list for waste, fraud and abuse."

No surprise there.

A full audit could identify at least some of the improper spending and allow Congress to crack down - if it will.

That brings up a necessary second step in military spending reforms - eliminating the practice of so many in Congress of appropriating billions of dollars for military hardware the Pentagon does not want or need. That may be a tougher nut to crack.

As Manchin points out, the bottom line is that every dollar spent improperly by the Pentagon deprives U.S. troops of equipment they really need. For the armed services to be truly the best that they can be, that needs to change.

By:  Editorial