Defense Money Not Going to Military Tech?

Defense Money Not Going to Military Tech?

( – The US has the largest defense budget in the world — but how much of it is actually being spent on our military? A new report says the Pentagon budget isn’t giving us value for our money and needs to be a lot more transparent. Among other things, we need to find out how much defense spending isn’t being used for defense.

A November 2022 report by the conservative American Enterprise Institute strongly criticized the Department of Defense (DOD) for the complexity and confusion of its funding. The report pointed out that although the DOD budget has almost tripled since the end of the Cold War, that hasn’t given us a more powerful military. Instead, huge sums of “defense” spending are actually earmarked for projects that won’t buy us a single extra bullet.

On December 16, 2022, Congress approved the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, allocating the DOD $857 billion for this fiscal year. That sounds like a lot of money, especially as the country with the second-largest defense budget — China — is estimated to be spending $293 billion. On paper, we’re spending almost three times as much as they are, which should give us a comfortable advantage.

The reality is a bit different. For example, $278.1 billion of the 2023 defense appropriation is scheduled to be spent on “Operation and maintenance.” That sounds pretty military, but it’s a deceptive title. That money will go to gender advisers, environmental projects on military land, and renaming bases that were named after Confederate officers. Wiping historic names like Fort Benning and Fort Bragg off the map might please liberals, but it contributes exactly zero to our military capability.

After adding up Operations and Maintenance, medical research and other assorted projects, just $298 billion of the 2023 budget is scheduled to be spent on maintenance and replacement of military equipment. That’s just $5 billion more than China is spending, and in China’s communist economy, weapons manufacturers probably give the regime a very competitive price. China is deploying innovative new weapons, while much of our arsenal — the M1 tank, M2 Bradley IFV and Ticonderoga-class cruiser, for example — date from the 1980s or even earlier. But, unless defense spending gets much more transparent, the money will continue to be diverted to planting trees, replacing signs, and paying gender advisers.

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