Championing Responsible National Security Policy

Building a Pentagon Budget that Makes Us Safer

The Problem

The Problem

Our leaders in Washington have unquestioningly increased the Pentagon budget in recent years, arguing that more defense spending will make our country safer. But Pentagon leaders are not spending our tax dollars wisely. Spending decisions are often driven by private sector defense contractors looking to profit off of the U.S. war machine. And leaders in Congress continue to authorize massive funding increases even though we don’t have a full accounting of how the Pentagon spends its budget. Simply throwing more money at the Pentagon will not make us safer. We’re pushing for smarter spending, driven by what the military truly needs.

Quick Facts

Did you know?

The Pentagon budget continues to increase each year, even though the U.S. has now ended the war in Afghanistan.

This particular example is from a 2019 inspector general report, but defense contractors price-gouging the taxpayers is nothing new — we’ve been alerting the public to incredible markups for nearly four decades.

Laws on the books only prevent select defense officials from owning stock in the top 10 companies doing business with the Pentagon during the previous five years. This leaves a lot of room for conflicts of interest, particularly since there are more than 100,000 defense companies and subcontractors doing business with the U.S. government.

A 2018 Pentagon audit discovered the warehouse. In the years since, the Defense Department still has not been able to provide a complete accounting of its assets, calling into question what else the Pentagon has lost track of.

What’s at Stake

What’s at Stake

Defense Corporations Have too Much Say in Pentagon Spending

Companies often hire former Pentagon officials to lobby their old co-workers. This revolving door means the private sector has an outsized influence on the Pentagon, resulting in spending decisions that place profit over the military's real needs.

Check out our video explainer

Defense Contractors Are Ripping Us Off

The Defense Department isn’t getting a fair price for the parts it needs to repair fighter jets and other crucial battlefield equipment. We must stop letting defense contractors rip off the U.S. military.

Read our testimony before Congress

Pentagon Waste Puts Other Programs on the Chopping Block

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated that funding the Pentagon is not the only way to make us safer. Yet leaders in Washington keep increasing the Pentagon’s budget for unproven weapons while neglecting other ways to protect the public.

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