In “A Golden Age for Pentagon Waste” (US News and World Report, 2-3-16), William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, cites examples of Pentagon waste:

*$17 billion spent on private villas and costly facilities that were barely used in Afghanistan.

*$7 billion spent on unneeded equipment by the Defense Logistics Agency.

*Congress inserted 11 additional F-35 combat aircraft into the last defense bill despite dubious value to the military. Over the last decade the F-35 project has cost $1.4 trillion and has yet to produce an airworthy plane.

Hartung recalled the $2 billion cost overruns in the 1960s on Lockheed’s C-5A transport aircraft, information the Air Force tried to hide from the public. That was the largest known example of overspending on a weapons program up to that time, but that scandal pales in comparison to the F-35 program and the Pentagon’s proposal to spend $1 trillion on new bombers, ballistic missile submarines and land-based nuclear missiles.

Every year the Department of Defense (DOD) receives more than half of the entire discretionary budget. In 2015, that amount was $598 billion. When so much money is at stake and no one is minding the store, spending discipline goes out the window and we have a situation ripe for waste and fraud.

Unlike other government agencies, the DOD has never produced a financial statement that can pass an independent audit. Recently it was disclosed the Army is overspending on routine items—$8,000 on gear worth $500. Because they can’t pass an audit, the DOD doesn’t even know how much it is overpaying on basic items or how much excess equipment it is purchasing.

Progressive champion Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) is spearheading a bipartisan bill, the Audit the Pentagon Act, in the House of Representatives. When Rep. Lee first introduced the bill in 2014, even Grover Norquist, the conservative founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, supported the bill. The Act would cut by 5 percent the budget of any federal agency that does not produce a financial statement for the previous year that can be audited by an independent auditor.

Contact your US Representative to tell him to co-sponsor the Audit the Pentagon Act. Whether hawk or dove, no one should accept the Pentagon’s outrageous waste of tens of billions of our tax dollars. Pentagon waste does not make us safer or defend us; it only subsidizes bad choices.

Contact information for Wisconsin 7th Congressional District Rep. Sean Duffy:

Toll Free 855-585-4251

You may want to keep this in mind when you contact your US Representative:

Lobbyists for the military industrial complex are working hard and spending heavily to defeat attempts at oversight of expenditure on weapons programs. Ask your Representative if he has received, directly to his campaign or indirectly to a PAC supporting him, funds from those lobbyists or defense contractors.

Go to this site to sign a petition, Tell Congress: Audit the Pentagon