President Donald Trump wants to boost defense spending by $54 billion a year. He is right to point out the armed forces need better equipment.
But before shoveling that much money into the military-industrial-political complex, Trump and Congress ought to mount a surprise attack on defense spending waste.
We phrase it that way because, though both presidents and lawmakers of both parties have vowed to root out and eliminate wasteful defense spending, it never happens. A genuine assault would be quite a surprise to the Pentagon.
Billions of dollars are wasted each year by the armed forces, often because Congress insists on spending money for weapons the generals and admirals don’t want and military bases that do not serve any purpose other than to keep the voters back home happy.
That is not to say the military itself does not bear some blame. Remember the $640 toilet seat? The $100 hammer? The two different engines developed for one airplane?
Eliminating waste from defense spending might well give the Pentagon $54 billion a year in “new” money. But will the attack on waste occur? What do you think?