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Veterans Benefits Get Cut As Pentagon Wastes Millions

Courtesy: US Defense Department
March 12, 2014

Congress is pushing for answers after it has been reported that the Defense Department wasted $754 million last year on parts that it didn’t even need.  This is a little shocking given the Pentagon’s call for massive cuts to active duty military and veterans.  The Senate is demanding answers on the waste in spending and seeking to understand the system where such a huge mistake is possible.

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The Senate wants answers from Pentagon officials on why the Defense Department spent more than $754 million last fiscal year on parts it didn’t need.

The Pentagon reduced its “on-order excess inventory” from $1.3 billion in 2009 to $609 million in 2011, but has since regressed, according to a March 11 memo signed by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

“These facts are troubling reminders that the DOD still has a lot of work ahead in its efforts to avoid wasteful spending by better aligning inventory with demand,” the memo stated.

On-order excess parts are “already purchased but likely to be excess due to changes in requirements,” according to the 2013 General Accountability Office’s High Risk Report.

The same report notes that in September 2011, even as DOD was cutting the excess items it was ordering, the department still had $9.2 billion worth of excess inventory in stock.

The senators’ memo called for Alan Estevez, undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics, to explain by April 25 why the inventory amount increased and what steps will be taken to reduce the excess. According to the memo, the Pentagon previously stated that the increases in excess were due to the shrinking budget, which led defense planners to be “more conservative” about canceling orders.

The senators’ assertions indicated that cuts to excess orders would be particularly useful in an era of declining budgets.

“This is another example of how the Department can reduce wasteful spending by simply canceling unneeded orders, using the inventory it has, and freeing up funds for the critical needs of our military,” the memo stated.

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