Benjamin Franklin said: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I would add a third certainty: cost overruns at the Pentagon. The Government Accountability Office recently reported that the Pentagon’s space program is facing multi-billion dollar cost overruns and multi-year delays.
From the GAO report:
The majority of major space acquisition programs in DOD’s space portfolio, however, have experienced problems during the past two decades that have delayed deployment and driven up cost. Many programs are experiencing significant schedule delays—as much as 7 years—resulting in potential capability gaps in areas such as positioning, navigation, and timing; missile warning; communications; and weather monitoring. We recently estimated that costs for major space acquisition programs have increased by about $11.0 billion from initial estimates of $11.4 billion for fiscal years 2008 through 2013.
Our defense budget is almost half the world’s, even leaving out nuclear weapons, the wars, veterans, and homeland security. It is also more than we spent at any point during the cold war.
To really keep us safe, we should slash defense spending. Americans should prepare for fewer wars, not different ones. Far from providing our defense, our military posture endangers us. It drags us into others’ conflicts, provokes animosity, and wastes resources. We need a defense budget worthy of the name. We need military restraint. And that would allow us to cut defense spending roughly in half.
The amount of money the Pentagon spends each year is larger than the economic output of most countries. Shoddy financial management is inevitable in a government operation of this size. Therefore, reducing the Department of Defense’s budget by refocusing its efforts on realistic and high-priority needs would make it easier to reign in the cost overruns and other spending abuses that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year.