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Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

The Pentagon fails its fifth audit in a row – Responsible Statecraft

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2022

Written by
Connor Echols

The Pentagon fails its fifth audit in a row

If the Defense Department can’t get its books straight, how can it be trusted with a budget of more than $800 billion per year?

“I would not say that we flunked,” said DoD Comptroller Mike McCord, although his office did note that the Pentagon only managed to account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets.

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/11/22/why-cant-the-dod-get-its-financial-house-in-order/

Last week, the Department of Defense revealed that it had failed its fifth consecutive audit. 

“I would not say that we flunked,” said DoD Comptroller Mike McCord, although his office did note that the Pentagon only managed to account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets. “The process is important for us to do, and it is making us get better. It is not making us get better as fast as we want.”

The news came as no surprise to Pentagon watchers. After all, the U.S. military has the distinction of being the only U.S. government agency to have never passed a comprehensive audit.

But what did raise some eyebrows was the fact that DoD made almost no progress in this year’s bookkeeping: Of the 27 areas investigated, only seven earned a clean bill of financial health, which McCord described as “basically the same picture as last year.”

Given this accounting disaster, it should come as no surprise that the Pentagon has a habit of bad financial math. This is especially true when it comes to estimating the cost of weapons programs.

The Pentagon’s most famous recent boondoggle is the F-35 program, which has gone over its original budget by $165 billion to date. But examples of overruns abound: As Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jack Reed (D-RI) wrote in 2020, the lead vessel for every one of the Navy’s last eight combatant ships came in at least 10 percent over budget, leading to more than $8 billion in additional costs.

And another major overrun is poised to happen soon, according to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office. 

See the rest here

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BMW 7 Series – a Spy Story.

Posted by M. C. on November 21, 2022

Enter the assassins…

Daniel McAdams

https://danielmcadams.substack.com/p/bmw-7-series?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

There was an anomaly in the system. Government action often produces unusual market reactions. In the case of the Northern VA commute to government jobs in DC and close environs it was all about HOV lanes on HWY 66 and Beltway 495.

The government said you could only travel in the HOV lanes if you had at least three in your vehicle, so spontaneously from whole cloth emerged a market in single passengers, bodies who made up the three who rode along to the Pentagon drop-off. The majority of the commute was completed in an expedited manner, and for the “third man” it was a free ride at rapid pace to the hub to all government jobs.

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Pentagon Station.

At the other end of the construction were the endless “slug lines” at the Pentagon’s massive parking lot to return home to the suburbs at the end of the day, where the govt workers lined up according to destination – signs posted – for the cruising vehicles to pick up their third passenger. I’ve got a golden ticket. A drama played out every single day in the life of the commuting government worker. Cruising for action. Waiting in line. Placing your bets – time versus money. Going home.

Interestingly enough and contrary to opposing arguments that without government regulation there would be chaos, the opposite was the case. The HOV cruise commute was controlled not by legislation but by human action. By custom. And unless you were terminally stupid you understood the basic rules by the third ride. Or you became known as stupid and the driver always had right of refusal. Voluntary regulation according to property rights.

The free market did not cause chaos, it cured chaos.

Rule One: Never talk to your driver. You are a body in the car to expedite his/her commute to work. If he/she feels chatty, you have the option to respond. Otherwise, shut up.

Two: Never wear too much cologne or perfume. You are a guest getting a free ride. No one wants to smell you. Don’t dare eat anything or have a flatulent issue.

Three: Sit in the back and be invisible. Wait for your driver to engage you if he/she wants. Never turn up your music on your headphones (no earbuds those days). Be silent. No one wants to hear your “jams.”

Four: Get in quickly and only say “thank you” upon entering. You are not starting a friendship. You are getting a free ride to work.

I first observed this strange anomaly when I moved to Haverhill Drive in Springfield, VA, 

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Pentagon Expects Congress to Provide Wartime Purchasing Power – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on November 9, 2022

When the NDAA amendment was first reported, a senior congressional aide told Defense News that the authority could also be used to prepare for war with China. “We can’t pussyfoot around with minimum-sustaining-rate buys of these munitions. It’s hard to think of something as high on everybody’s list as buying a ton of munitions for the next few years, for our operational plans against China and continuing to supply Ukraine,” the aide said.

Agitating for and preparing for peace…war. Casey and Kelly are all in. NDAA, their favorite bill.

https://news.antiwar.com/2022/11/07/pentagon-expects-congress-to-provide-wartime-purchasing-power/

The Senate introduced an amendment to its version of the NDAA

by Dave DeCamp

Bill LaPlante, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, said that he expects Congress to grant the authority to allow wartime purchasing power at a level not seen since the Cold War, Defense News reported on Monday.

To continue arming Ukraine, LaPlante has been calling for the Pentagon to be granted the authority to lock in multiyear contracts for weapons purchases, which are typically reserved for procuring naval vessels and warplanes. The idea is to get arms makers the incentive to ramp up production.

The Senate has added an amendment to its version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to grant the authority. It would allow the Pentagon to make multiyear purchases through 2023 and 2024 of certain arms made by Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, and Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The Senate is expected to vote on its version of the NDAA sometime this month, and it will then negotiate the final version of the spending bill with the House. LaPlante expects the wartime purchasing powers to make it into the finalized version that will reach President Biden’s desk.

“They are supportive of this. They’re going to give us multiyear authority, and they’re going to give us funding to really put into the industrial base ― and I’m talking billions of dollars into the industrial base ― to fund these production lines,” LaPlante said on Friday.

“That, I predict, is going to happen, and it’s happening now. And then people will have to say: ‘I guess they were serious about it.’ But we have not done that since the Cold War,” he added.

When the NDAA amendment was first reported, a senior congressional aide told Defense News that the authority could also be used to prepare for war with China. “We can’t pussyfoot around with minimum-sustaining-rate buys of these munitions. It’s hard to think of something as high on everybody’s list as buying a ton of munitions for the next few years, for our operational plans against China and continuing to supply Ukraine,” the aide said.

The Senate’s NDAA also includes $10 billion in military aid for Taiwan that will be disbursed over the next five years. While the number still needs to be finalized in negotiations with the House, there is strong bipartisan support for arming Taiwan, which will ensure tensions with China will continue to rise.

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After Over 8 Months of Pouring Arms Into Ukraine, US Announces Some Oversight

Posted by M. C. on November 2, 2022

The State Department says its focus is on stopping Javelin and Stinger missiles from getting on the black market

The US military didn’t think of this before! Of course it did. It doesn’t care. Kelly, Casey and Toomey don’t care. The more chaos the better.

Civilian casualties, downed airliners, shift the blame to the right people and you have the perfect excuse to hang around for another decade.

by Dave DeCamp

antiwar.com

After over eight months of pouring tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons into Ukraine, the Biden administration has announced some steps it will take toward oversight of the military aid.

The State Department announced the plan on October 27. It focuses on keeping powerful portable weapons like Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles off the black market. Responsible Statecraft reported that experts are warning the plan has gaps and doesn’t address the issue of smaller arms.

The State Department said in order to achieve its oversight goals, the US will bolster the ability of Ukraine and other regional countries “to account for and safeguard their arms and ammunition,” strengthen borders, and bolster security agencies to “deter, detect, and interdict illicit trafficking of certain advanced conventional weapons.”

Another aspect of the effort is in-person inspections of US weapons inside Ukraine that are being conducted by the US military. The Pentagon revealed on Monday that its personnel has begun conducting these inspections inside the country, marking the first official confirmation of a US military presence on the ground in Ukraine since Russia invaded on February 24.

The Pentagon did not provide much detail on where the inspections are taking place but said they are being conducted by personnel based at the US Embassy in Kyiv. Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters on Tuesday that there are US Marines at the embassy conducting guard duties on top of the weapons inspectors.

Ryder also said that the inspectors will not be near the “front lines.” According to media reports, US special operations forces and CIA operatives are also on the ground in Ukraine, but the covert operations have not been officially confirmed by Washington. President Biden had repeatedly said he wouldn’t send troops into Ukraine, which he said before Russia’s invasion could spark a “world war.”

Up to this point, there has been virtually no oversight of the billions in weapons being sent to Ukraine. Finnish law enforcement said earlier this week that they have seen weapons sent to Ukraine ending up in criminal hands in Finland and other countries in the region, including Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. An official from Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation said they’re “going to be dealing with these arms for decades and pay the price here.”

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Reagan Was Right: Big Government Corrupts the Military Too

Posted by M. C. on September 13, 2022

If President Reagan’s “law” is correct—that “as government expands, liberty contracts”—then further expanding Big Military can’t help but lead to additional reductions in our freedoms.

The Pentagon is the world’s largest employer. The military-industrial sector is characterized by entanglements between government and private firms, with the latter earning large profits from war preparation and war-making.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/reagan-was-right-big-government-corrupts-military-too-204668

by Christopher J. Coyne

Roger Zakheim, director of the Ronald Reagan Institute in Washington, DC, which promotes the former president’s legacy, argued in a recent Wall Street Journal column that the United States needs to increase its annual military spending by at least 30 percent—from approximately 3.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to between 5 and 6 percent.

Zakheim, who also serves on the board of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), said the increase is needed to achieve a “margin of safety” for Americans against the growing threats from China and Russia.

In Zakheim’s telling, U.S. political leaders have made “common cause with the detente-pushing realists” while neglecting the investments necessary to modernize America’s armed forces. Unfortunately, this misses an important nuance. It is true that President Ronald Reagan was a proponent of strong defense, what he termed “peace through strength.” At the same time, he was a skeptic of big government and an opponent of top-down government planning.

The U.S. military sector—the same defense industrial complex the NDIA represents—is the poster child of both. It is a massive government enterprise grounded in top-down state planning by a small group of political elites. The Pentagon is the world’s largest employer. The military-industrial sector is characterized by entanglements between government and private firms, with the latter earning large profits from war preparation and war-making.

These entanglements are a hallmark of political capitalism—a system where political decision-making influences private decision-making and where private parties influence politics to further their interests, usually at the expense of taxpayers. The same you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours exists in other areas where the government is heavily involved as well, such as education and infrastructure, where private firms and other special interests spend millions of dollars attempting to influence policy for their own benefit in the name of some “common good.”

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New Docs Confirm Pentagon Unlawfully Forced US Service Members to Take Unlicensed Covid Shots

Posted by M. C. on September 2, 2022

Which will be worse-unproven experimental drugs, burn pits, agent orange, cancer laden water at Camp Lejune, depleted uranium ammunition…with friends like the pentagram…

By Jordan Schachtel
The Dossier

A new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) document obtained by The Dossier proves without a doubt that the U.S. Department of Defense did not have FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines in its possession — despite top DOD officials claiming otherwise — while unlawfully forcing service members to take the shots, under the very real threat of separation, court martial, and other severe ramifications.

The Dossier has verified the authenticity of the FOIA document, which is published below. We’ve redacted personal information.

Replying to a question about the Defense Department’s possession of Pfizer’s Comirnaty, which in the context of the question can be understood as the FDA approved version of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Defense Logistics Agency responds:

“We began shipping Comirnaty labeled vaccine in June 2022. From the week of June 13, 2022, through the week of August 29, 2022, we will have shipped 9600 doses (160 boxes) of vaccine.”

They did not have anything with a Comirnaty label until June 2022. That’s almost a full year after the DOD vaccine mandate went into effect.

This is an admission that service members were injected exclusively with emergency use authorization products. Today, active duty troops continue to be harassed, threatened, and punished for non compliance with the unlawful order.

It remains unclear what exactly the response of “Comirnaty labeled” means. It likely is a product of legal sleight of hand, as no FDA approved shot has become available to service members. The question about Moderna’s FDA approved Spikevax was not answered directly, so unfortunately, there is no value in that portion of the FOIA response.

Nonetheless, the Department of Defense is now on record admitting that ZERO FDA approved shots were made available to service members.

But that wasn’t what top Pentagon officials were saying at the time of the unlawful mandate.

Read the Whole Article

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Pentagon Stockpiles “Uncomfortably Low” Amid Ukraine Transfers, Officials Admit

Posted by M. C. on August 30, 2022

If the pentagram didn’t leave $billions in deadly all over the Middle East…

Tyler Durden's Photo\

https://www.zerohedge.com/military/pentagon-stockpiles-uncomfortably-low-amid-ukraine-transfers-officials-admit

BY TYLER DURDEN

“It is not at the level we would like to go into combat,” a US defense official told The Wall Street Journal of the Pentagon’s fast depleting stockpiles due to unprecedented defense aid to Ukraine, and stressed in particular that artillery ammunition is now “uncomfortably low”.

What’s more is that the shortfall will likely last into the future, given the norm is for new purchases and then manufacturers supplying the weapons to take a process of years.

“The U.S. has during the past six months supplied Ukraine with 16 U.S. rocket launchers, known as Himars, thousands of guns, drones, missiles and other equipment. Much of that, including ammunition, has come directly from U.S. inventory, depleting stockpiles intended for unexpected threats, defense officials say,” the report spells out.

In total so far, the US has pledged to send about $13 billion in arms to Ukraine after only six months of conflict. Given the alarm over Washington’s own dwindling stockpiles, the DoD is now opting to send 105mm rounds to Ukraine instead of the 155mm guided ‘smart’ artillery shells.

In early July, a senior US defense official told reporters in a briefing that the Ukrainian army was at that point firing about 3,000 155mm shells per day:

The revelation came amid questioning on the latest tranche of weapons and ammunition being sent to Ukraine, including, for the first time 1,000 guided 155mm ‘smart’ shells.

The official said despite the high usage rate, Ukrainian forces still have “substantial stores” of 155mm rounds and are far from running out with more rounds on the way. The U.S. and NATO allies have donated hundreds of thousands of 155mm rounds to Ukraine.

But already at this point it seems the Pentagon is becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the rate of these ‘donations’.

The Wall Street Journal report indicated further that the US Army has requested of Congress another $500 million per year to enhance its own ammo factories. It remains that the biggest winner in all of this is the big defense contractors and manufacturers. 

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=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&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1561347784229494784&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fmilitary%2Fpentagon-stockpiles-uncomfortably-low-amid-ukraine-transfers-officials-admit&sessionId=646255bf4017e560d7f1403321f75eddd9270034&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=31f0cdc1eaa0f%3A1660602114609&width=550px

Meanwhile, other NATO allies are facing this same problem and worry, especially ‘neutral’ Germany which has dramatically shifted its historic stance on not sending weapons into foreign conflict zones. A number of German politicians have warned that Berlin should not be sharing weapons from its own arsenal, given that “Unfortunately, the situation here is such that we have an absolute deficit in our own stocks,” according to the recent words of Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Speaking to German media agency ZDF, she said: “However, Germany must also think in the medium term. Due to the German arms problem, the armaments industry had to dedicatedly produce material for the Ukraine.”

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America’s Perpetual Foreign-Policy Crises

Posted by M. C. on August 30, 2022

Make no mistake about it: If China invades Taiwan, U.S. officials will play the innocent, just as they have done with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And they will then have three big crises — Russia,  China, and the “war on terrorism” — to justify their permanent existence and their ever-growing taxpayer-funded largess.

by Jacob G. Hornberger

Ever since the federal government was converted from a limited-government republic to a national-security state after World War II, America has lived under a system of ongoing, never-ending, perpetual foreign-policy crises. That’s not a coincidence. The national-security establishment — i.e. the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA — need such crises to justify their continued existence and their ever-growing taxpayer-funded largess. 

An interesting aspect of this phenomenon is that oftentimes the crises are ginned up by the national-security establishment itself. Once the crisis materializes, the Pentagon and the CIA play the innocent. “We had nothing to do with ginning up this crisis,” they cry. “We are totally innocent.” 

After the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon and the CIA were desperately in need of a crisis that could replace the Cold War crisis, which they were convinced would last forever. That’s when they began going into the Middle East and killing people. When that massive killing spree, which included killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, ended up producing terrorist blowback, the national-security establishment had its new crisis — terrorism, which replaced communism as America’s big official enemy. 

The “war on terrorism” replaced the Cold War’s “war on communism.” Americans began fearing the terrorists (and the Muslims) almost as much as they feared the Reds. With the new crisis, the national-security establishment, including its army of “defense” contractors, was assured of continued existence and ever-expanding taxpayer-funded largess.

Notwithstanding the ostensible end of the Cold War, however, the Pentagon and the CIA never lost hope of reestablishing Russia as an official enemy. But the challenge was: How to make Russia an official enemy again and how to get another ongoing crisis environment with Russia to keep the U.S. national-security establishment in high cotton?

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US Details Its Largest-Ever Weapons Package for Ukraine

Posted by M. C. on August 25, 2022

The $3 billion package includes surface-to-air missiles, counter artillery radars, surveillance drones

The US government admits they have no idea where these weapons go or who ends up owning them.

Surface to air missiles, the kind that shoot down airliners.

antiwar.com

by Dave DeCamp

President Biden on Wednesday announced new military aid for Ukraine worth nearly $3 billion, marking the single largest weapons package for Kyiv since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

The Pentagon detailed the contents of the $2.98 billion package and said it demonstrates the US commitment to “supporting Ukraine over the long term.” The Pentagon said the new aid represents “multi-year investments to build the enduring strength of Ukraine’s Armed Forces.”

The new weapons package includes:

  • Six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) with additional munitions for NASAMS
  • Up to 245,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition
  • Up to 65,000 rounds of 120mm mortar ammunition
  • Up to 24 counter-artillery radars
  • Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and support equipment for Scan Eagle UAS systems
  • VAMPIRE Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems
  • Laser-guided rocket systems
  • Funding for training, maintenance, and sustainment

The funds are being pulled from the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill President Biden signed in May. The weapons will be sent to Ukraine through a program known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which allows the US government to purchase equipment for Kyiv from the arms industry.

The Pentagon said that the announcement marks the beginning of the contract process to purchase the weapons for Ukraine. Most weapons the US has sent to Ukraine were done under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows President Biden to send arms directly from US military stockpiles. The new package brings the total of direct military aid for Kyiv since the war started to about $13.6 billion.

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Pentagon Estimates Taliban Took Control of Over $7 Billion in US Military Equipment

Posted by M. C. on August 18, 2022

The majority of the equipment was tactical ground vehicles, such as MRAPs and Humvees

On Wednesday, the Taliban reportedly tested two US-made aircraft in flights over Kabul, a sign that they have the means to repair the equipment. The Taliban have said that they would integrate pilots, mechanics, and other specialists from the former US-backed Afghan army.

So…was this gross incompetence, the pentagram couldn’t be bothered as taxpayers would replace the equipment or is there a hidden agenda in arming the Taliban? Will the Taliban be the next Mujaheddin? We know what they morphed into.

by Dave DeCamp

antiwar.com

The Pentagon’s Inspector General said Tuesday that the now-defunct US-backed Afghan government had over $7 billion in US military equipment at the time of its collapse last year and that most of it was seized by the Taliban.

“The DoD estimated that US-funded equipment valued at $7.12 billion was in the inventory of the former Afghan government when it collapsed, much of which has since been seized by the Taliban,” the Inspector General’s report said.

The report said the things left behind included “military aircraft, ground vehicles, weapons, and other military equipment.” The majority of the equipment was tactical ground vehicles, such as MRAPs and Humvees, worth an estimated $4.12 billion.

The Inspector General said that the US military “destroyed nearly all major equipment used by US troops in Afghanistan throughout the drawdown period in 2021.” Monday marked one year since the Taliban entered Kabul and the US-backed Afghan government officially collapsed.

On Wednesday, the Taliban reportedly tested two US-made aircraft in flights over Kabul, a sign that they have the means to repair the equipment. The Taliban have said that they would integrate pilots, mechanics, and other specialists from the former US-backed Afghan army.

The US had plans to increase funding for Afghanistan’s forces after the withdrawal as Washington expected to be funding a proxy war against the Taliban for years to come. But the plan failed as the US-backed forces agreed to surrender to the Taliban. Some of the military aid meant for Afghanistan has been sent to Ukraine, including Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters.

Throughout the war, the US spent about $88 billion arming and training the Afghan forces as part of its reconstruction efforts, which were defined by exorbitant waste. Overall, the US spent $2.3 trillion on the war in Afghanistan, a figure that includes interest on war borrowing and veterans care.

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