The Pentagon and Congress Must Stop Raiding the Afghan War Fund
Last week’s House action on the National Defense Authorization Act was largely an exercise in fantasy budgeting and pork barrel politics. Virtually all of the Pentagon’s major cost saving initiatives were rejected, and key issues like when to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan were not even brought up for debate.
The call for large amounts of funding for reset also rests on shaky ground. As a 2011 study by the Stimson Center has shown, the $1 trillion in procurement funding contained in the Pentagon budget in the decade after 2001 was more than ample to provide the Army with a full inventory of new and/or upgraded vehicles, over and above any equipment that may have been lost in Afghanistan. Similar trends hold for the Air Force, Navy and Marines. Given this reality, Congress should carefully scrutinize any funding justified on the grounds of “resetting the force.”
In the name of budget discipline and sound planning, the use of the OCO account as an all-purpose slush fund must end.
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