Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste, by Craig Whitlock.

Pentagon leaders had requested the [internal ] study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

The report, issued in January 2015, identified “a clear path” for the Defense Department to save $125 billion over five years. The plan would not have required layoffs of civil servants or reductions in military personnel. Instead, it would have streamlined the bureaucracy through attrition and early retirements, curtailed high-priced contractors and made better use of information technology. …

The data showed that the Defense Department was paying a staggering number of people — 1,014,000 contractors, civilians and uniformed personnel — to fill back-office jobs far from the front lines. That workforce supports 1.3 million troops on active duty, the fewest since 1940. …

The study was produced last year by the Defense Business Board, a federal advisory panel of corporate executives, and consultants from McKinsey and Company. 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.

All western institutions have bloated back-offices nowadays. For example, administrators have taken over universities and research organizations. They outnumber the academics and researchers, and they pay themselves salaries that are often much larger than the people who do the actual work of the institution– for services that, mysteriously, these institutions managed to do without until forty years ago. It’s a creeping corruption by hordes of camp followers, demanding an ever greater cut. Drain the swamps.