FROM WHERE I STAND: Good news

BY POLLY MANN

The New York Times headline of Dec. 14 read, “The Pentagon Is Not a Sacred Cow.” Of course it isn’t, and our readers know it and so do we, but for the Times to acknowledge that is like finding a shoveled path to navigate after a winter snow storm.

We’ll start with a few basics. The military budget is now $643 billion. In May our capricious president proposed $677 billion for 2018, but the U.S. Congress increased that to around $700 billion, some $85 billion above the legal cap. Thankfully there are legalities that have to be dealt with before the new budget can be put into place—Congress must remove the 2011 cap and appropriate the money.

Waste is evidently a problem that is not being addressed. A 2015 study estimated that the Pentagon wastes about $125 billion annually, about one-fifth of its annual budget, that is, about 1 out of every 5 dollars it’s allotted. So back to the Sacred Cow concept. The military must tighten up its policies and programs. An awareness of this need is indeed Good News.

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