Money for Nothing: Why US Defense Spending Raises Eyebrows

© AP Photo / Massoud HossainiIn this Mar. 15, 2016 file photo, Afghanistan's National Army soldiers stand guard, following weeks of heavy clashes to recapture the area from Taliban militants in Dand-e Ghouri district in Baghlan province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan
In this Mar. 15, 2016 file photo, Afghanistan's National Army soldiers stand guard, following weeks of heavy clashes to recapture the area from Taliban militants in Dand-e Ghouri district in Baghlan province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan - Sputnik International
Newsweek pointed the finger at the Pentagon for wasting hefty sums of money. According to the magazine, the US Defense Department shelled out a whopping 94 million dollars on conspicuously green camo for Afghan troops.

The first Zumwalt-class destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, the largest ever built for the US Navy, leaves the Kennebec River on Monday, December 7, 2015, in Phippsburg, Maine. - Sputnik International
Around 60% of US Citizens Believe Country's Defense Spending Sufficient
Newsweek reported earlier this week that the Pentagon had decided to blow 94 million dollars dressing Afghan cops "in forest camo in a country where forests cover barely 2 percent of the land."

The magazine quoted the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) as saying that "the Department of Defense's decision to procure ANA uniforms using a proprietary camouflage pattern was not based on an evaluation of its appropriateness for the Afghan environment."

However, this sum could be considered a footnote when compared to total military spedning: As much as four million dollars an hour has been spent by Washington for over a decade on what the Newsweek described as "the longest war in US history."

'Golden' Fuel

In May 2017, The Washington Post published documents which revealed that US Defense Department officials had overvalued the estimates, spending surplus money on preparing the Syrian opposition and on the operation in Afghanistan.

"Since 2015, the Defense Department has tapped surpluses from its fuel accounts for $80 million to train Syrian rebels, $450 million to shore up a prescription-drug program riddled with fraud and $1.4 billion to cover unanticipated expenses from the war in Afghanistan," the newspaper reported.

The Pentagon acknowledged that between 2010 and 2016, it "amassed a six-billion-dollar surplus by overcharging the armed forces for fuel," something that Russian political analyst Pavel Svyatenkov said may result in a Congressional inquiry.

"In America, each and every penny is controlled by Congress, which will certainly demand an inquiry into the matter if the information about embezzlement is confirmed.  In other words, there is already a reason for Congress to open a probe," Svuatenkov told Sputnik.

Shock for Mattis

Meanwhile, in 2016 experts from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recorded for the first time in five years an increase in military spending in the United States. As a result, America's share in the world's rating related to "spending on war" grew to 36 percent.

Despite the huge funds allocated to the Pentagon, the combat readiness of the US military is questioned even by its own top brass. In mid-June, the US army was criticized by Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has held office since January 2017.

In his testimony to the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month, Mattis said that he was "shocked" upon his return to the Pentagon by the poor state of the US military's readiness for combat, according to the AFP news agency's Twitter page.

In addition, in early May it was reported that Mattis had ordered a review of the US missile defense program. The process will be led by the Deputy Defense Secretary and the deputy head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with a final report due to be submitted to President Donald Trump by the end of this year.

No Military Spending Cuts

In 2018, Washington intends to significantly increase military spending after Trump asked Congress to earmark as much as 639 billion dollars for Pentagon needs.

U.S. Army Soldiers. (File) - Sputnik International
US Hikes Military Spending in an Attempt to 'Gain Superiority Over Russia'
"The draft budget for 2018 requires 639 billion dollars for the Department of Defense, a 52-billion-dollar increase over fiscal 2017,"according to a document pertaining to the federal budget proposal.

The document said that the basic military budget for 2018 stands at 574 billion dollars, with 56 billion dollars more due to be allocated for conducting US military operations abroad.

At the same time, Trump quickly reduced by one fourth the budget of the State Department, which is responsible for the US foreign policy.

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