GOP Doesn't Care about Deficits ... Especially When It Comes to Defense Spending

No amount of funding for the defense industry could quench the GOP's insatiable thirst for cluster bombing brown people in distant countries ... for freedom.

With release of their cut-to-the-bone 302(b) suballocations last week, the House Appropriations Committee provided yet another display of how Republicans in general - and conservatives in particular – don't care about deficits, as the defense budget received zero scrutiny.

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U.S. Scores Poorly on Transparency of Foreign Aid Spending

A new comparative study of development aid finds the U.S. among the least transparent of the world's donors.

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Would McCaskill's Contingency Contracting IG be Worth It?

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

At a Senate Armed Services hearing last week, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) urged officials from the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a permanent inspector general office for contingency contracting. If the billions wasted through our rebuilding efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan – which, by the way, are likely to be the kinds of wars we are going to fight into the indefinite future – is any measure, it seems a permanent IG might be worth the investment.

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Curtailing Deficits without Touching Defense Spending is Silly

'Did you call me silly?'

In their newly released, talking-point-heavy "Pledge to America," House Republicans say they are offering "a plan to stop out-of-control spending and reduce the size of government" if voters put them back in charge in November. One area of government the plan doesn't call for reducing, however, is the Department of Defense (DOD). In fact, the new conservative governing proposal explicitly exempts the DOD budget from their proposed cuts to bring federal spending back to "pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels."

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Bad Idea: Stand up a Private Army in Iraq to Take the Place of Departing U.S. Forces

Oh boy, this could get ugly

The pullout of the final U.S. combat brigade from Iraq last week was the penultimate step in the military's withdrawal from the country at the end of 2011. At that time, the State Department, utilizing a large number of private security contractors (PSC), will take responsibility for performing many of the tasks the Department of Defense (DOD) has been carrying out. Problem is, State isn't very good at overseeing contractors.

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'Independent' Defense Review Panel Suggests Congress Shower the Industry with Money


Last week, the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Independent Panel, a four-year old body created by Congress to provide an "alternate view" of the Pentagon's periodic internal assessment, released its report on the 2010 QDR. Simply put, the panel, whose membership includes a majority of individuals in the defense contracting industry, said, "Yes, please" in response to the government's question about how to allocate its limited resources.

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SIGIR: Pentagon Flushed Iraqi Funds down Toilet with Alarming Efficiency

Will this make the Iraqi people like us more or less?

On Tuesday, the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released a devastating report on the Department of Defense's (DOD) control of Iraqi reconstruction funds. SIGIR reviewed the Pentagon's control of the funds from 2004 to 2007 and found that DOD could not account for 96 percent of the $9.1 billion it received during that time.

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Outsourcing National Security

He Hears All

If you haven't been reading the Washington Post's new series "Top Secret America" on the state of the intelligence community since 9/11, I highly recommend checking it out. William Arkin, one of the authors of the series, gave an interview this morning on "Washington Journal," C-SPAN's morning call-in program. Discussing today's piece on the extensive use of contractors in intelligence work, Arkin found placing "the functions of a third of our government in the hands of private companies" to be a "fundamental issue" that the public must grapple with.

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DOD IG Finds Private Security Contractors Performing Inherently Governmental Tasks

A U.S. Soldier Meets with Private Security Contractors

Jeremy Scahill, an investigative journalist and contributor to The Nation, blogged this morning about a discovery he made in a recent Department of Defense (DOD) Inspector General's (IG) report. The DOD IG found, in what Scahill mockingly referred to as "a not shocking revelation," that "private contractors working for U.S. Special Forces have been allowed to 'perform inherently governmental functions.'"

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Who Says We Need More C-17s...Oh Yeah, Congressional Missourians Do

A C-17 Globemaster III

As Congress gears up for its annual budget process, parochial-minded members are drawing their customary battle lines around administration-targeted programs. One of those is the C-17 transport plane, which the Pentagon has been trying to kill for several years because it deems the military to have ample airlift capacity. Last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted a press conference held by four congressional Missourians who, claiming to know better than the Pentagon, declared that they were going to fight the plane's proposed cancellation.

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