Pentagon accused of burying report revealing administrative wastage of $125 billion

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WASHINGTON, Dec.6(APP): Senior officials at the US Defense
Department, or Pentagon, have been accused of covering up a study that detailed $125 billion of “administrative waste”,fearing it might be used by the Congress to slash defense budget, the Washington Post reported.

Picked up by many other news outlets, including Fox News, the report
revealed that the study was conducted in January, 2015 by the advisory Defense Business Board, (DBB), which called for a series of reforms that could have saved the department the staggering expenses over the next five years.

The study had been requested by the Pentagon officials to help induce
efficiency in its back-office bureaucracy to save funds that could have been invested in combat power. But when the study exposed wasteful spending that far exceeded the expectation, officials moved quickly to suppress it, fearing that might lead to cut in their budget.

According to the Fox News, the Pentagon even withdrew a report from a Pentagon website. The Pentagon had been complaining about lack of funds over the years.

Robert Stein, the former DBB Chairman, told the Post that the Pentagon had always complained that they were short of money and we proposed the way to save a “ton of money”. But, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, who had originally ordered the study, the plan drawn out by DBB was “unrealistic” and overstated the expenses.

In a statement issued to Fox News, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook echoed the stance of the Deputy Defense Secretary, saying that the report had “limited value” and “lacked specific, actionable recommendations appropriate to the department”.

According to the report, as quoted by the Washington Post story, the
study had identified a “clear path” for the Pentagon to save $125 billion over five years, by streamlining bureaucracy through attrition and early retirement, curtailing high-priced contractors, and bringing efficiency through better use of information technology. There was no recommendation to lay off civil servants or reducing military personnel.

“Based on reams of personnel and cost data, their report revealed for
the first time that the Pentagon was spending almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management,” the story claimed.

According to the DBB data, the Defense Department was paying an
extremely high amount to some 1,014,000 contractors, civilians and uniformed personal to fill back-office jobs to support 1.3 million troops on active duty.

The study may resonate with President-elect Donald Trump who has
promised a major military buildup by “eliminating government waste and budget gimmicks”.

Some Pentagon leaders, however, were worried that exposing such a
staggering amount as being wasted, would have gone contrary to their public assertions they had been making for years about the lack of funds. They feared that instead of providing more money, the Congress and the White House might have decided to cut deeper.