Can we cut defense without cutting defense?

| November 18 2012
Christopher Cook

With the looming prospect of automatic defense cuts kicking in, diminishing our national defense in the process, Sen. Tom Coburn offers an alternate view: There are lots of things that we can cut without hurting our ability to defend ourselves at all:

From a workshop on whether Jesus’ salvation would apply to aliens to determining the color of the feathers on a 150-million-year-old creature deemed the Earth’s first bird, the Pentagon has spent money on some questionable projects, according to Sen. Tom Coburn.

At a time when many Republicans argue the Defense Department cannot afford new spending cuts, Mr. Coburn, Congress’s top waste-watcher, released a report Thursday arguing that in fact the Pentagon is awash in billions of dollars of non-security spending that should be cut.

“The American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies.”

Mr. Coburn said that over the next decade, the Defense Department will spend $6 billion on non-military research, $9 billion on running grocery stores, and some $37 billion on support and supply services that could better be done by civilians or the private sector.

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