Recent Posts

Let’s talk real waste

by Dan Burns on January 7, 2013 · 1 comment

Rather overlooked in all of the hubbub about the “fiscal cliff” is that President Obama recently signed the latest bill for the most bloated, wasteful, and destructive corporate welfare sugar-teat in the history of humankind, namely, U.S. military spending.  What all is in this vile monstrosity?

It includes $527.4 billion for the base Pentagon budget; $88.5 billion for overseas contingency operations including the war in Afghanistan; and $17.8 billion for national security programs in the Energy Department and Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

The bill authorises $9.8 billion for missile defence, including funds for a Pentagon feasibility study on three possible missile defence sites on the US East Coast.

It also extends for one year the restriction on use of US funds to transfer Guantánamo inmates to other countries, a limitation critics say marks a setback for Mr Obama’s efforts to close the detention centre.

You may recall that plans for closing Guantanamo were publicly floated back in 2009.  The backlash was substantial, as corporate media gleefully amplified claims that such a process would lead to terrorists coming soon to a prison near you.

Despite the extraordinary quantities of waste embedded in modern American military spending, polls typically show about 50-55% of the public opposed to any cuts.  A public education effort could begin with discussion of the high-on-the-hog lifestyles indulged in by senior members of the bloated officer corps. You may well note parallels to how big-time CEOs clean up in civilian life, also at everyone else’s expense.

Judeling January 7, 2013 at 11:15 pm

When I went to my first assignment in the Army in DC my office consisted of two PFC (E3), Two E7s and an E8 to (manage the office), Two Captains, Four Majors, Two Light Colonels and a Colonel, Five enlisted and nine officers. It was a great team.

Now this was the early 80′s and the Army was coping with the Reagan build up. My office was scratch built to handle the projections modeling to slot people to anticipated jobs. He Army needed to create these models internally because the civilian contractors would take years to develop them and there just wasn’t that much time.

The point is that it was a technical function. The Army assembled a officer heavy team because the officers where a known quantity. Full academic and performance data was available and there was a better assumption that they could be retained long enough to be effective. They grabbed senior enlisted for much the same reason and filled everything out with the top two students in the current AIT classes.

And that is why the tail is so bloated now. The Army has become a much more technical endeavor. They can never compete with the civilian world and retain the required expertise.

Is the Officer Corps bloated? Absolutely!  Is there a reason? Yes. A better model needs to be developed to cope with its new and old missions.  

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: