Tuesday, May 25, 2010


H.R. 5136, the Defense Department authorization bill is now available on the House Rules Committee website. Here is a brief summary of where our tax dollars will be going in F.Y. 2011.

Army- $5.986 Billion for aircraft
           $1.631 Billion for missiles
           $1.616 Billion for weapons and tracked combat vehicles
           $1.946 Billion for ammunition
           $9.398 Billion for other procurement

Navy & Marine Corps-
          $19.132 Billion for aircraft
          $3.350 Billion for weapons, including missiles
          $15.724 Billion for shipbuilding and conversion
          $6.450 Billion for other procurement

Marine Corps-
          $1.379 Billion for procurement

Navy & Marine Corps-
          $871.991 Million for ammunition

Air Force
          $15.355 Billion for aircraft
          $672.420 Million for ammunition
          $17.911 Billion for other procurement

         $4.399 Billion for procurement

That is a broad view of Defense Department spending for next year. You can tell by these figures that the Army is carrying the brunt of battlefield duty. Why else would they need nearly $2 Billion for ammunition when the Marine Corps is looking for just under $872 Million and the Air Force is seeking $672 Million for ammunition. We need to remember that we are at war. We need to support our Troops.

President Obama has our military on track fighting the correct war against the true enemy, is using Predator Drones to strike at the leadership of Al Qaeda, and has a plan for drawing down our operations.

We also need to be smart with our money. Apparently the Navy, or some shrewd lobbyist on behalf of the Military-Industrial Complex, wants every cent appropriated for aircraft, all $19.132 Billion (by the way that's more money for aircraft than the Air Force is getting) spent this year. It is the clause in H.R. 3156 I could find only one such clause in the bill like this. Here it is:

§122 (h) (2)

‘‘(2) USE OF EXCESS FUNDS.—The Secretary of
Defense shall ensure that any excess funds are obli
gated or expended for the advance procurement or
procurement of F/A–18E or F/A–18F aircraft under
this section, regardless of whether such aircraft are in
addition to the 515 F/A–18E and F/A–18F aircraft
planned by the Secretary of the Navy.

This may be a good idea, this may be Pork! A million years ago, I was hitchhiking back to K.C. from Springfield, Mo, where I went to SMSU. That was when I first encountered this practice of spending every last cent of appropriated funds. Again, that was a long time ago when hitchhiking wasn't so dangerous! I had a large brown suitcase with a massive Budweiser sticker on it. That was my main attention getter; and it got me lots of free rides. No, I did not travel with brew!

Anyway, my last car had left me in the infamous Grandview Triangle, which the Missouri Department of Transportation (Mo. Dot.) is now trying to call the "3-Trails Crossing," with limited success. It was a lovely spring day, kind of like today. My eye was drawn to a bridge. The bridge spanned two hills and did not connect to any road or highway.

What a waste of money, I thought. If I'd been smart I'd have claimed ownership of the "Bridge to Nowhere" title right there and then. I wasn't that clever. But I did know where Mo. Dot. had their offices. I looked them up in the phone book. No, cell phones were only the subject of science fiction back then, and we accessed the University's computer with "IBM cards." There was no internet. I managed to get through to lead engineer on the project.

"Why did you spend all that money building that bridge when it doesn't connect to anything," I asked him. "To save money," he replied. He went on to explain that building the bridge now would save money because Mo. Dot. had every reason to believe that construction costs were going to rise. We got tomorrow's expensive bridge at today's lower cost.
Ike Skelton
I've got nothing but respect and admiration for Congressman Ike Skelton, the Chairman of the House Committee on Armed Services - who introduced this bill. I trust his judgment. We don't agree 100% on everything, but he is a damn good Democrat and I believe in party unity. Nonetheless, I think I'll keep reading the bill and see if anything else perks my interest.

You should read it too. Go to Thomas, http://thomas.loc.gov/ and plug the bill number in the search bar.

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