Pentagon Waste on Display Again: Returning Useless Trucks

While all eyes are on the incompetence of the Secret Service, Pentagon waste, which has always been out of control, has produced yet another scandal. The Department of Defense has spent a fortune moving equipment it doesn’t need.

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According to USA Today: “Tab for trucks Pentagon doesn’t need could top $100M.”

The Army and Marine Corps may have wasted more than $100 million returning vehicles from Afghanistan that they don’t need over just a one-year period, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday.

The services could have saved the money by blowing up the trucks or turning them over to allies, the report says. Over a one-year period, the Army and Marines returned 1,000 vehicles to the United States that the service didn’t need, at a cost of as much as $107,400 per vehicle.

The Pentagon has made some progress in reining in its costs, GAO notes, but not enough.

“However, due to ineffective internal controls, the Army and Marine Corps may be incurring unnecessary costs by returning equipment that potentially exceeds service needs or is not economical to return and repair,” the report says.

“This report is a troubling reminder that the Department of Defense has more work do in managing taxpayer dollars,” said Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat and chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. “The Government Accountability Office underscores that the DOD can and should do a much better job in preventing unnecessary costs by taking some common sense steps in managing its surplus military vehicles. We simply cannot afford this type of waste and ineffectiveness.”

Everything in this story treats the unnecessary transportations of trucks as if it is a big accident? But there is no reason to assume people just forgot to go through the calculations before they made a decision. One possibility is that people in the Army and Marines know that they won’t get a bigger budget if they don’t spend all of their budget or more. They have an incentive to deliberately waste money.

The Army and Marines may have shipped home some of the vehicles because they did not take transportation costs into account. They made that decision despite Pentagon guidance that requires it, the GAO report says.

So is anyone who failed to follow “Pentagon guidance” going to be disciplined in any way? Is there any incentive for the military to actually cut costs?

Remember, the Pentagon is destroying Tea Party momentum to reduce spending. This waste is extremely dangerous to our country.