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Audacity of Budgets (Part 5)

  The Department of Defense 

We have come to the DOD. Some of the insight into this Department is difficult because of the nature of the Department itself. Some of the funding is for projects that relate directly to National Security interests and are not public. 

Others are weapons costs, including R&D, as well as ongoing war operations

This does not / should not excuse this Department from scrutiny or accountability.

There are a few things about the Budget Proposal for this Department that need to be looked at, and I would encourage you to do a little digging on your own, as this series is not an exhaustive research project, just a primer.

 Because a portion of this departments activities are done in secret, full financial disclosure is not readily available. But I do have a problem with the fact that virtually all of the expenditures are labeled as Discretionary Spending.

Why so much? Certainly the DOD has some in place procedures, rules, etc., that are monthly and yearly expenditures. I am very uncomfortable with the fact that all of this is Discretionary.

When there is a lack of disclosure, it will be accompanied by a lack of accountability. It opens too many opportunities and reasons to spend money without accountability. And we all know this administration loves to spend money.

And Obama’s campaign promise of the “most transparent Government ever” turned out to be yet another lie. 

Let’s begin with the funding Highlights:

Bullet point one:

The Budget also includes a series of management and acquisition reforms that will produce a net of $78 billion in savings through 2016.

Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical when this Administration uses the terms ‘reform’ and ‘savings’. I have yet to see them save anything in this budget, even though they have claimed to in every Department we have looked at.

Looking at the bottom line in the DOD, there are no bottom line savings here either. Anyone in business management will tell you that you put cost reduction plans on the table and then forecast the actual savings. The only way you can produce Net results is if the planned cuts are applied to mandatory outlays.

Reforms under discretionary spending do not qualify, so the savings are projected not produced.. And we all know how reliable government projections are.

Bullet point seven:

Reinvests $100 billion of expected savings in high-priority areas such as the development or purchase...

Deja vu. Expected savings and reinvests? But note we are not going to cut, merely reinvest that money.

Bullet point eight:

Continues the reform agenda to achieve more efficient business operations.

Is that the same thing we are doing in bullet point one? Or is this a different reform agenda?

Bullet point nine:

Invests in new and on-going cybersecurity research and development and improvements to existing cybersecurity capabilities.

Did we see this issue being addressed in the Department of Commerce (see pg 55 of the Budget)? Two Departments funding the same venture?

Page 63: Under Secures Information Infrastructure from Intrusion.

The Budget provides $2.3 billion to support improved cybersecurity capabilities.

Yep, sounds just like page 55 Under the Department of Commerce. The same project being funded by at least two different departments.

The rest of the highlights are boring dribble. Moving on.

Page 60: The incremental costs of funding “Overseas Contingency Operations”.

Call it what it is, the WAR ON TERROR, or the war against radical Islam. Forget this Politically correct nonsense. I am very interested in spending $118 billion dollars to defend this country against Islamic Terrorists and others who would do us harm. I am not interested in spending one red cent on “Overseas Contingency Operations”.

Under the category Prepares for Emerging Threats.

“$200 million for a public – private partnership of a vaccine manufacturing facility in support of the Administration’s new Medical Counter Measure Initiative;”

Medical Counter Measure Initiative is what exactly? And I hate that word initiative. It’s a nondescript term to what is actually going on here. This initiative created another government funded entity, period! 

They are going to do what? Develop vaccines for emerging threats. Maybe frivolous lawsuits won’t run this vaccine company out of the country, like all the rest of the vaccine companies have been. 

$200 million doesn’t sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things when we are talking about a Department that has a $668 billion dollar budget. But we find the $200 million is just another installment in this little venture.

Obama already pulled $1 billion from WMD-defense to fund in 2010 to develop vaccines

Now he wants to give them another $200 million to fund a “public-private partnership”. Great! Liberal spending at it’s best. Now we are at $1.2 billion in this little initiative.

Hmmmmm… Haven’t I read about the Medical Counter Measure Initiative before? 

Hey, there is a Medical Countermeasures Initiative under the FDA. Great, now we have two?

Even better, there are three? Yes the third is under The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In our previous article I mentioned the duplication of programs and the inconsistency of multiple departments running the same program.

This is a perfect example.

My number one concern with this kind of nonsense is it affords the administration to fund these efforts from many sources; thereby making it difficult at best to find out exactly how much is being spent.

They are going to work hand in hand with Interagency BioDefense Campus.  

Nice, on their front page they have scrolling photos of deer and ducks. At first glance I would say it’s yet another Environmental org that this administration is so fond of funding at tax-payer expense. A $138 million worth. Clever the way they hid it in defense budget.

I’m sure it’s important though, right?

Page 61, under the heading “Backs the Nation’s Troops and Their Families”.

“Overall, the Budget provides $8.3 billion to support military families, including $1.2 billion to expand availability of affordable, high-quality child care;”

 I am all for supporting our troops and their families, but $1.2 billion for ‘child care’. There needs to be a limit to anyone’s support, military family or civilian family. If you are in the military and decide to have children, that is your choice, and child care should be at your expense. 

$2.4 billion to sustain and build DODschools, supporting quality education for military dependents. 

You realize they are talking about ‘overseas‘ schools’ don’t you?

Department of Defense Dependents Schools: $2.4 billion. Are all of the benefits of this program for the soldier’s families, or is part of it to benefit the countries they are located in? 

The total proposed outlays for this Department are $707 billion. Which is an increase of $41 billion over 2010. I don’t see any evidence supporting the claims of “more efficient business operations”. If there were, there would not be a $41 billion increase. 

The DOD is one of the worst examples of Budget Control, exceeded only by the vast array of Social Programs in this country. And like those programs, huge cuts need to be initiated.

There are many other aspects of this Department that deserve further investigation, but this series addresses the budget. The implications and sub-sections are another story.

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