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Thread: Report: Wasteful Government Spending At All-Time High

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Report: Wasteful Government Spending At All-Time High

    Report: Wasteful Government Spending at All-Time High

    Justin Rood Reports
    June 27, 2007 1:56 PM

    Reportwasteful_mn The U.S. government has committed to spend a record-high $1.1 trillion with companies holding government contracts "plagued by waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement," according to a new report by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    The report blames the rise in bad spending on a sharp increase in noncompetitive contracting and a general increase in the use of private companies to perform government functions.

    More than $200 billion in taxpayer money was spent on projects for which only one or a handful of companies submitted bids, the committee found.

    That figure has more than tripled since 2000, according to the report, and now comprises more than half of all government spending outside of entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    "The numbers -- there's not an iota of justification for more than half of all contracts being no- or limited-bid contracts," said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a non-partisan Washington, D.C.-based group which scrutinizes federal spending.

    Ashdown said he doubted senior government officials were letting so many troubled no-bid contracts to "cronies" but were doing it out of laziness.

    "They knew that, until a few months ago, Congress wasn't minding the store," he told the Blotter on, referring to the Democrats' takeover of the House and Senate last November. "They could do whatever they wanted."

    According to the report, the committee based its findings on a federal database of government spending, and more than 700 reports by government auditing and investigations offices.

    In a fact sheet released in response to the report, the Bush administration said it was "committed to strengthened use of competition and effective contract management and oversight."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    AuGmENTor Guest

  3. #3
    dMole Guest

    Well duh...

    Umm, that's pronounced "warfare", I think. Probably why our gas prices are so high too- how much is being burned by jets, and those oh-so-efficient Humvees and Deuce-n-a-Halfs?

    I don't recall seeing any numbers about military oil/petroleum consumption in the media though...

  4. #4
    AuGmENTor Guest
    Good point, I wonder about that also. Ferret that out for us wouldya?

  5. #5
    werther Guest
    yeah, that is a good point. -would be nice to know.

  6. #6
    dMole Guest

    Hats off to USN

    At least the Navy is using nuclear fuel in their BIG ships and subs (and I rarely compliment them either). I'll poke around with my GAO and FAS sources - might not even be published or added up though...

  7. #7
    werther Guest
    around with my GAO and FAS sources

    damn acronyms. They're taking over I tell ya'. What the hell does gao and fas stand for?

  8. #8
    dMole Guest
    General Accounting Office
    Federation of American Scientists

    Neither one is very "civilian" friendly to find information at though.

    I'll probably need to be reminded periodically that my "obvious acronyms" probably aren't exactly that- years of acronymn use comes at a price.

    At least I didn't post Maxwell's ACTUAL Electrodynamical Field Equations (there are 20, not 4 like my college "text")- that'd get me banned for sure!

  9. #9
    AuGmENTor Guest
    I was going to start a thread one time that was people listing all the acronyms they had committed to memory. But then I figured dMole would house us all, and others would just cheat. *cough* JON *cough cough*

  10. #10
    dMole Guest

    Source 1 of 4

    I finally found some military fuel articles.

    Military's fuel costs spur look at gas-guzzlersBy Steven Komarow, USA TODAY
    The Pentagon hasn't emphasized fuel efficiency for its aircraft, ships and vehicles, despite shortages that slowed U.S. troops in the two Iraq wars and warnings from its own experts.
    A B-52 bomber lines up on the runway as another takes off in this 1999 file photo.Alastair Grant, AP"Although significant warfighting, logistics and cost benefits occur when weapons systems are made more fuel-efficient, these benefits are not valued or emphasized" in any of the services, the Defense Science Board, the Pentagon's most prestigious technical advisory panel, concluded in 2001.

    That's still true, said Jacques Gansler, the undersecretary of Defense who sponsored the study.

    Since the end of the Cold War, the military's mission has changed. Instead of M1 Abrams tanks racing forward from well-supplied bases to stop a Soviet attack in Europe, the military now fights far from supply depots. Often, troops and equipment have to travel on short notice.

    Commanders who buy the military's weapons haven't changed with the mission, said Gansler, now a professor at the University of Maryland.

    That may be changing. With fuel costs nearing $3 a gallon, the military risks squeezing its procurement budget just to pay for fuel for current operations, Gansler said. (Related story: Military accelerates energy efforts)

    A pig that flies

    By any measure, the venerable B-52 bomber is a gas hog. It burns 3,334 gallons per hour through eight jet engines that were designed in the 1950s, when the B-52 first entered service.

    Although the B-52 remains the Air Force's main big bomber, the service has rejected proposals over the past decade to replace the plane's eight engines with four new, efficient jets. The Air Force said spending $4 billion on new engines would only save a net $400 million and then only if the plane kept flying for another 40 years.

    The Science Board study, however, said the Air Force incorrectly calculated fuel costs. Each gallon of jet fuel was priced as if the airplanes were filled up by tanker trucks at the B-52s' main home at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. However, about 10% of the fuel is delivered by aerial tanker, which costs about 10 times more than regular fueling.

    In addition, many of the planes flying with a full load, such as those in use over Afghanistan today, take off from remote bases, such as Diego Garcia Island in the Indian Ocean, where special fuel shipments are required.

    The Science Board's study of replacing the B-52 engines estimated $9 billion in savings, and that was when fuel prices were half their current level.

    One benefit would be that regular missions from Diego Garcia to Afghanistan could be done without aerial refueling. Such refueling, which involves a tanker plane extending a fuel line to the B-52 flying below, is often dangerous and exhausting for pilots. It also slows the mission.

    The Army also calculates fuel costs without considering often-extreme delivery problems, the Science Board study said. The study noted that fuel accounts for 70% of the cargo tonnage in most supply convoys.

    By Elliot Blair Smith, USA TODAYSoldiers refuel an M1A1 Abrams tank in Iraq in this 2003 file photo.In Iraq, fuel convoys to remote bases must be guarded by combat troops on the ground and attack helicopters above. The Science Board study said the ultimate cost could be hundreds of dollars per gallon. That also doesn't count the cost in lives of soldiers lost to roadside bombs and other insurgent attacks on the convoys, which are prime targets.

    One of the Army's biggest gas-guzzlers is the Abrams tank, which features turbine engines that were designed in the 1960s and never upgraded. While quiet and powerful, the engines burn fuel faster than any other combat vehicle, more than 1 gallon per mile.

    The Army had a program to replace the engines with more fuel-efficient diesels but canceled it because it was too expensive, said Lt. Col. Michael Flanagan, manager of the tank program.

    Fitting a different engine would have required redesigning much of the tank, Flanagan said.

    Instead, the Army will spend about $1.2 billion in the next five years to refurbish the current turbine. To save fuel while idling — an Abrams burns 12 gallons an hour standing still — a small generator or battery pack has been fitted to some of the tanks.

    Savings at sea

    The Navy, which is the second-largest consumer of fuel after the Air Force, has had a conservation program since 1977.

    The Navy estimates its ships burn 15% less today than 10 years ago, through a combination of improvements. Skippers get cash bonuses for conserving fuel. As new ships with the latest power plants come online, they could be twice as efficient, said Lt. William Marks, a Navy spokesman.

    The Science Board recognized those efforts but said more could be done, especially in modernizing the ships' power plants.

    The war in Iraq has complicated Army and Marine Corps efforts to save fuel, because the services have added extra armor to their vehicles.

    Humvees with the latest armor burn more fuel than those without armor. The Army is also trading hundreds of Humvees for ASVs, large four-wheeled armored vehicles that burn more fuel.

    From 2004 through 2005, fuel consumption by the Army and Marine Corps increased by more than one third, largely because of Iraq.

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