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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:13 PM
Original message
Defense budget cuts compel military transformation
...

In part, the proposed changes attempt to make a "transformational" virtue out of the necessity of shifting funds and priorities to Army forces that are bearing the brunt of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dov Zakheim, who retired last year as the Pentagon's comptroller and chief numbers cruncher, says that the pressures that federal deficits are exerting on Defense budgets are compounded by the fact that the Defense Department will spend roughly $12 billion more in Iraq this year than officials anticipated just one year ago. The White House indicated this week that it will request an $80 billion supplemental funding bill to cover the costs of ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even given that infusion of money, the strains of those two wars have largely taken off the table any cuts to the personnel or operations- and-maintenance accounts, two traditional "bill payers" in times of austerity.

"With the Army totally enmeshed in Iraq, and those accounts off the table, that forces budget-cutters to look at Air Force and Navy acquisition programs, which is what they clearly did," Zakheim said, speaking at a recent forum hosted by the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

Even given an increasingly tight budget environment, however, Zakheim believes that the cuts faithfully reflect Rumsfeld's transformation priorities.

The transformation programs "have not only been funded, but in many cases, boosted," Zakheim said. Those programs include unmanned aerial vehicles such as Global Hawk; the Army's lighter, more-mobile Stryker brigades; the airborne laser; space-based radar; the military's global information grid; the conversion of Trident nuclear-missile submarines to cruise-missile platforms; and the Pentagon's Joint Readiness Training Center. "All of those programs are ongoing, and they are changing the way the U.S. military trains, equips, and fights -- big-time."

What is missing from the Pentagon's transformation initiative, critics contend, is a full and open debate about the risks versus rewards inherent in such a radical restructuring. Partly, that is because the Republican-controlled Congress has shown little inclination to exercise strict oversight of the Defense Department during a time of war. For their part, OSD officials have persistently pushed the U.S. military down the path toward supposed "transformation" -- without describing what the ultimate "Promised Land" will look like.
more
http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0105/012805nj1.htm
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spotbird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:27 PM
Original message
What the hell are they spending all this money on?
What is the math? 120,000 to 200b? And the troops aren't even protected?
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. Defense budget practices probed
Thursday, 02-Oct-2003 10:00AM PDT Story from United Press International
Copyright 2003 by United Press International (via ClariNet)

MIAMI, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- The Pentagon's inspector general is investigating allegations that the Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla., is squirreling away money in its budget for use on a rainy day. House Appropriations Chairman C.W. "Bill" Young, R-Fla., questioned Pentagon Comptroller Dov Zakheim at budget hearing Tuesday, and Zakheim denied any wrongdoing. Young was not satisfied, and is expected to pursue the issue.

...

Zakheim said, however, he was limited in his response because of the ongoing audit of the issue, which originally was sparked by a telephone call to the Pentagon's Defense Hotline. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he has asked the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which he is a member, and the General Accounting Office to conduct their own investigation of the practice.
The St. Petersburg Times said in an exclusive report Sunday the Special Operations Command inflated its budget by $20 million in order to have that money for discretionary use later. On Thursday the paper reported the Justice Department was looking into an additional $25 million.

...

"Our objective will be to review the allegations to the Defense Hotline concerning funds 'parked' at the U.S. Special Operations Command by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)," said a letter from the inspector general's office to Gen. Charles Holland, who has since retired as Special Operations commander.

...

Among several documents The St. Petersburg Times obtained during its investigation was e-mail sent by Special Operations Command Comptroller Elaine Kingston to colleagues in February 2002.
She said an unidentified official in the Pentagon comptroller's office had asked her if the command could "park" $40 million of research-and-development money in its proposed budget for the 2003 fiscal year.

She said the Pentagon had it parked with another agency but that agency developed a problem with it. She said there was no way she could take the $40 million, but agreed to deal with $20 million.
The programs where the money was placed included missile warning systems on aircraft, infrared equipment on helicopters and radar system. The amounts ranged from $2 million to $5 million.

...

Kingston said in the e-mail message she coached her colleagues on how to account for the money and avoid attracting congressional attention to it. "We are doing a favor for the OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) which we hope will benefit the command if we should need additional (research and development funds)," the message said.

more
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/635B6007-9DD0-43...



Pentagon finance manager resigns

Thursday 11 March 2004, 7:39 Makka Time, 4:39 GMT

The Pentagon's chief financial officer has offered his resignation after overseeing a spiralling defence budget look set to hit $450 billion in 2005.

A former adjunct economics professor at New York's Yeshiva University, Rabbi Zakheim has spent more than 30 years working in various jobs at the Pentagon.


A conservative Republican who graduated from Jew's College in London in 1973, Zakheim first joined the Department of Defence in 1981 under former president Ronald Reagan.

...

The rabbi was a senior foreign policy adviser to then - Governor George Bush during the 2000 presidential campaign.

...

But that does not include additional spending needed to support US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - a sum expected to range from $30 billion to $50 billion.

...

A study by the Defense Department's inspector general found that the Pentagon couldn't properly account for more than a trillion dollars in monies spent.

more
http://quickstart.clari.net/qs_se/webnews/wed/dp/Uus-de...


Pentagon couldn't properly account for more than a trillion dollars in monies spent.
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seemslikeadream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Actually it's $2.3 trillion they cannot track
"According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," Rumsfeld admitted.

$2.3 trillion that's $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America. To understand how the Pentagon can lose track of trillions, consider the case of one military accountant who tried to find out what happened to a mere $300 million.

"We know it's gone. But we don't know what they spent it on," said Jim Minnery, Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Minnery, a former Marine turned whistle-blower, is risking his job by speaking out for the first time about the millions he noticed were missing from one defense agency's balance sheets. Minnery tried to follow the money trail, even crisscrossing the country looking for records.

"The director looked at me and said 'Why do you care about this stuff?' It took me aback, you know? My supervisor asking me why I care about doing a good job," said Minnery.

He was reassigned and says officials then covered up the problem by just writing it off.

"They have to cover it up," he said. "That's where the corruption comes in. They have to cover up the fact that they can't do the job."

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/29/eveningnews/m...
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spotbird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
1. What the hell are they spending all this money on?
What is the math? 120,000 to 200b? And the troops aren't even protected?
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-05 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. Most goes straight down a rathole.
Various pockets are lined but nothing of any lasting value is produced.
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DELUSIONAL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-28-05 07:32 PM
Response to Original message
2. Debate not allowed by the dictator
Edited on Fri Jan-28-05 07:32 PM by DELUSIONAL
What is missing from the Pentagon's transformation initiative, critics contend, is a full and open debate about the risks versus rewards inherent in such a radical restructuring.

Rummy has in place officers who will obey his will.

The idea of civilian oversight is good in theory. However, if a despot is in control -- is he really a civilian?

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