According to an expose, the Obama administration chose to bury the results of a report that found $125 billion was wasted by excessive bureaucracy at the Department of Defense. The overspending was allegedly hidden by the Pentagon out of fear that Congress would thus cut the defense budget, said the Washington Post.
The report was issued in January 2015 and had been requested by Pentagon officials to find ways to make the department more efficient and save billions of dollars. It was produced by the Defense Business Board, which is a federal advisory panel that consists of executives and consultants from McKinsey and Co. The experts found that almost 25% of the Pentagon’s $585 billion budget was being spent on overhead and core business operations. These include accounting, human resources, logistics and property management. Robert “Bobby” L. Stein, is the former chairman of the Board, currently working as managing director of Chartwell Capital Management and president of the Regency Group.
Another startling finding was that the number of support staff almost equals the number of actual troops. The 1,014,000 civil contractors, civil servants, and uniformed personnel who do back office work support 1.3 million troops on active duty. The number of troops on duty today is the lowest since 1940, on the eve of America’s entry into the Second World War.
The cost-cutting study could find a receptive audience with President-elect Donald Trump. He has promised a major military buildup and said he would pay for it by “eliminating government waste and budget gimmicks.”
The military was seeking to redirect spending on back-office bureaucracy to spending on weapons systems and troops. The money was hoped to fund the operating expenses for 50 Army brigades.
Pentagon leaders were concerned that the revelations would douse public support for increased military spending. Thus, the Pentagon imposed secrecy restrictions on the data making up the study, which ensured no one could replicate the findings. A 77-page summary of the report was removed from a Pentagon website.
Stein, who besides chairing the Defense Business Board was also a bundling fundraiser for Barack Obama, said it was a “travesty” for the Pentagon to suppress the report. “We’re going to be in peril because we’re spending dollars like it doesn’t matter,” he added, according to the Post.