Sometimes Pentagon incompetence can take such bizarre forms it is difficult to know what to say about it. For example, the Pentagon hired a contractor to evaluate the education they were paying for their servicemen and -women to use, and the contractor was never required to produce any useful information!
The Daily Caller reports,
The GAO’s report, politely titled “Action Is Needed to Ensure Evaluations of Postsecondary Schools Are Useful,” explains that the evaluations “did not provide the agency the information it needed to assess schools” because “DOD lacked a specific plan to frame the evaluations” — in other words, the Pentagon never told the contractors it hired what to evaluate. Not only that, but “DOD’s contract did not specify all the skills needed by the contractor… to ensure that the contractor provided personnel with the requisite education and experience needed to conduct the evaluations.”
While the DOD did tell the contractor its evaluations should cover 15 areas, the GAO found that these areas “were often broad, not clearly defined, and lacked specificity… Based on our review of these 15 areas, it was not always clear what DOD was asking the contractor to evaluate and how the 15 areas would be measured.”
Because the DOD did not initially require evaluation personnel to have appropriate qualifications, “data from student surveys were misinterpreted and erroneously reported.” The Pentagon did eventually modify the contract to require that staff have “a working knowledge of measurement methods and tools; sufficient experience in postsecondary education; and expertise in education theories, principles, and practices”–but not until 2013, and even after the modification the GAO found evidence in 2014 reports of continued incompetence.
The GAO is fairly scathing, but I wonder if they correctly diagnosed the problem. If the “continued incompetence” continued after 2013, then perhaps the problem was not a lack of direction from the Pentagon, but confidence on the part of the contractor that the Pentagon would continue to pay for shoddy work.
What patriotic Americans need to remember is that loyalty to veterans and gratitude for those who volunteer to serve in our Armed Forces does not entail unwavering support for mammoth taxpayer-funded bureaucracies. The Pentagon, as an organization, is not “the troops.” Just like support for Veterans does not mean support for Veterans Affairs (in fact, such support might demand hostility to it!), so supporting our servicemen does not mean supporting the Pentagon and its amazing budgetary tricks.
Remember, the Pentagon has gone for years without being able to pass a legal audit of where its money goes.
Americans like to pretend that they can have a huge government and still have an honest, accountable government. But once the government becomes a labyrinth of minutiae, the bureaucrats are no longer accountable to anyone. Big government means we don’t notice problems until they grow too big to solve.