President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, may be inheriting a Pentagon in dire need of at least $88 billion in additional spending to keep the defense apparatus running and much more to pay for trillions in unfunded liabilities for pensions, health, and annual leave of our warriors.
Moreover, Breitbart News analyzed the Pentagon’s own data, which shows that at least about $870 million in improper payments (overpayments and underpayments), including some of the money that has allegedly been recovered, had been doled out in 2015 alone.
“Improper payments” refers to when “federal funds go to the wrong recipient; recipients that receive the incorrect amount of funds (either an underpayment or overpayment); to those who lack documentation to support a payment; or when the recipient uses federal funds in an improper manner,” notes the federal government.
The Pentagon also needs to find a way to pay for its estimated $3 trillion in unfunded liabilities as of 2015 (latest figures), which is money the military has promised to pay for the benefits of service members such as annual leave, pensions, health care, retirement, and others, but it does not have the revenue to do so.
In addition, the current air fleet is in dire need of replacement. Just last week, an engine dropped out of B-52 bomber mid-flight during training. Fortunately, the B-52 runs on eight engines, which allowed pilots to safely land the aircraft without any casualties and the engine fell in a unpopulated area.
Last week, Bob Work, the current deputy secretary of defense, told the incoming Trump administration that repealing the BCA spending caps would be a step in the good direction for helping the financially struggling military, but added that that the Pentagon has reached a point where additional money would only fill in the many budget wholes rather than allow for the purchase of much-needed military equipment, namely ships and planes.
“We’re broke,” is the essential message Work delivered to likely next Secretary of Defense Mattis, notes the National Interest.
Speaking Monday at the Future Strategy Forum at the United States Navy Memorial, Work warned that even as much as $88 billion in additional funding would only be enough to fill the “holes” in the struggling budget rather than grow the military fleet as incoming president Trump has vowed to do.
“That doesn’t buy you an extra ship, that doesn’t buy you an extra airplane, that doesn’t buy you an extra soldier or sailor or airman or Marine,” Work acknowledged, referring to the $88 billion in additional funding. “That just gets you where you need to be, fills in the hole.”
Work suggested that the U.S. requires spending around “$107 billion” more above the BCA, also known as sequestration, over five years, assuming that the Republican Congress delivers in lifting the caps. That amounts to nearly $21 billion annually over sequestration limits.
“That’s the first thing we’re counting on. If we don’t get that $21 billion a year above BCA caps, then we will start cutting U.S. Navy ships and airplanes because we won’t have any other choice of what to do,” declared the deputy Pentagon chief.
Some Senators from both parties, as well as House lawmakers who served their country in combat, believe Gen. Mattis is just the man to bring the Pentagon back to where it needs to be, effective, ready for combat, and fiscally solvent.
Gen. Mattis is no stranger to the business side of defense, having served on the board of directors of General Dynamics (GD), the Pentagon’s fourth-largest contractor after retiring from the Marine Corps in 2013.
Citing an ethics agreement dated January 5 released by the Office of Government Ethics last week, Politico reports that Mattis has agreed that, if confirmed as Secretary of Defense, he would divest stock and recuse himself from matters involving GD.
According to the agreement, the retired Marine general will also step down from the board of directors of General Dynamics and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
He has already reportedly resigned from the boards of Theranos, a biotech firm and the Washington, D.C.-based think-tank Center for a New American Security, among other organizations.