Press Release

Panetta Ignoring More than $100 Billion in Potential Defense Savings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reveals his strategy to “rebalance” defense priorities with decreasing funds tomorrow; he will likely miss several opportunities to cut wasteful spending from the bloated Pentagon budget.

That’s because the review only accounts for $450 billion in savings over the next decade as required by last year’s debt ceiling negotiations. But a recent report from the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) found the federal government could save $586 billion over the same period by cutting unneeded weapons, reining in out-of-control private contracts, moving our nuclear arsenal to a post-Cold War footing, reforming the military health care system, and reducing the number of U.S. troops in Europe.

The report, titled “Spending Less, Spending Smarter,” gives the Department of Defense (DoD) concrete ideas on how to strengthen our national security by cutting wasteful spending. You can find a copy of the report on the POGO and TCS websites.

“We appreciate that the Pentagon is beginning to acknowledge its role in filling in our nation’s crater of debt, but any new strategic plan has to rein in the billions of dollars wasted on weapons, facilities, and services that do nothing for our nation’s security,” said Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Secretary Panetta must identify bold, decisive steps to eliminate waste, reduce cost overruns, and make our military more cost effective. Spending smarter will make us safer.”

Danielle Brian, POGO executive director added: “There’s so much more that could be done to reduce wasteful spending. Secretary Panetta doesn’t even address the cost of exorbitant service contracts that even internal DOD analysis has noted is where the real savings can be found.”

The savings targeted by POGO and Taxpayers for Common Sense include:

  • $300 billion by cutting DoD service contracts by 15 percent;
  • $3.7 billion by deferring development of the next-generation bomber;
  • $60 billion through reforms of the DoD’s TRICARE health care system;
  • $44 billion by replacing two of the three F-35 variants with the less expensive F/A-18 E/F’s;
  • $30 billion by withdrawing 20,000 troops from Europe, and
  • $12 billion by not renewing the procurement contract for the V-22 Osprey.

Taxpayers for Common Sense is a non-partisan budget watchdog serving as an independent voice for American taxpayers. Our mission is to achieve a government that spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and operates within its means. We work with individuals, policymakers, and the media to increase transparency, expose and eliminate wasteful and corrupt subsidies, earmarks, and corporate welfare, and hold decision makers accountable.