With the fight over sequestration continuing and both parties navigating the legislative waters of trying to overturn various parts of the Budget Control Act, the coming “cuts” to the growth of spending at the Department of Defense (DoD) have come increasingly under close examination by Members of Congress, especially Republicans. While every department in the federal government should be taking at least a haircut (and others should be eliminated entirely), the DoD is a unique department for two reasons: first, many Republican politicians simply see defense spending as untouchable, something grassroots conservatives often disagree with. The second reason defense spending is unique is that military defense of the country is actually a constitutional responsibility of the federal government, and as such sequestration’s cuts could have a negative impact on the defense of our nation.
However, in an interview with CBS News caught by Right Scoop, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has highlighted some spending at the Pentagon that even the most ardent defender of the DoD should support eliminating. This spending includes a study on aliens and on-base micro-breweries, as well as the removal of skunks from golf courses on bases. Oh, and a caffeine intake iPhone application and Twitter slang.
According to CBS, Coburn has a report coming that will show $85 billion could be cut from the Pentagon over ten years. This is in addition to other reports Coburn has released with more significant reforms to defense spending, such as reformation of the contracting system. While $85 billion is not a massive amount of money compared to our debt (over $16 trillion) or the budget of the Pentagon (over $500 billion), neither is $8.5 billion annually something to ignore. As the debate over sequestration continues, credit should be given to Coburn for finding ways to cut defense spending that will not harm America’s ability to defend itself.