The Common Good
June 2013

Waste Not, Want Not

by Elaina Ramsey | June 2013

Three of the Pentagon's most wasteful programs.

Riddled with fraud and abuse, it’s no surprise that the Pentagon has not successfully passed an audit since 1996, according to the Government Accountability Office. Yet, the federal government continues to funnel billions of tax dollars to the Pentagon while local communities struggle to make ends meet.

In the midst of this year’s congressional budget battles, local governments are fighting back. In Bring Our War Dollars Back Home,’ from the June 2013 issue of Sojourners, Candice Quinn describes how communities around the nation are pushing for Pentagon spending cuts to fund local needs.

As U.S. taxpayers wait for the Department of Defense to get its accounts in order, continue to keep an eye out for some of the Pentagon’s most wasteful programs: 

  • F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: With cost overruns and delays, these jets are projected to cost taxpayers $396 billion, nearly four times as much as any other weapons system.
  • Ballistic Missile Defense: Since Reagan’s 1983 “Star Wars” proposal to build a space-based antimissile shield, the Pentagon has spent more than $100 billion trying to develop missile defense systems fraught with technological issues.
  • Nuclear Weapons: Each year the Pentagon spends $23 billion to support the U.S. nuclear force, a bloated arsenal that could easily destroy the world five times over.

Elaina Ramsey is assistant editor of Sojourners magazine.

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