Trump’s NDAA Veto Threat Should Force a Conversation on Defense Spending
A dirty secret of congressional military spending is that when the government allocates billions in spending, unnecessary, wasteful, and parochial interests quickly find their way into the legislation. That’s part of the reason President Trump has drawn the ire of a handful of defense leaders on Capitol Hill for threatening to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Simply put, they don’t want key special interest provisions for their donors and districts held up.
President Trump says that the bill won’t receive his signature unless Congress includes provisions that repeal section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides social media companies immunity from user-posted content. Some believe the president’s move is strategic, while others find it to be political posturing. Irrespective of one’s personal views on Section 230, let’s make one thing clear: the sky is not going to fall from a slight delay in passing the NDAA, as some have suggested.
America’s armed forces still have plenty of funds to conduct their military operations for the foreseeable future, to the extent that some policy analysts argue Washington should make defense spending cuts to free up funding for more pressing needs.
With a delay in authorization looking more likely, now seems like a perfect opportunity for Congress to take a long, hard look at the military waste that it has ignored for far too long.
The release of the 2020 Department of Defense Performance and Accountability Report highlighted nearly $5 billion in improper payments to its civilian workforce in the past year alone. This number may sound astonishing, and it is. That said, it’s just the tip of the fiscal mismanagement iceberg that plagues the same Pentagon which pays ten dollars a gallon for gas during historic declines in oil prices.
Earlier this year, the air force awarded hundreds of millions of dollars for the second phase of a program known as the Launch Service Agreement (LSA). Although it created th
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