The Defense Department tried to find a way to cut expenses, so it conducted an internal study to find potential waste. In early 2015, it published the results.
Well, kind of. The results were only published internally, since the report found a staggering $125 billion in administrative waste, according to a Washington Post investigation.
Pentagon leaders tried to bury the report for fears of budget cuts, and it only recently found the light of day.
We are spending a lot more money than we thought.
The internal review by the Defense Business Board found the Pentagon had more than one million non-active-duty personnel on the payroll, costing $134 billion. Meanwhile, there were only 1.3 million active-duty troops -- the smallest number since 1940. The goal of the study was to reallocate money to weapons and troops, but officials feared the sheer magnitude of waste would scare Congress.
We're the largest bureaucracy in the world. There's going to be some inherent inefficiencies in that.
Not only was the study not published, but restrictions prevented it from being replicated, The Post reports. Meanwhile, the department will face $113 billion in automatic cuts under the 2011 Budget Control Act unless Congress and President-elect Donald Trump can agree on a budget.
What an actual conspiracy looks like: Burying a report of $125 billion in waste because Congress might cut funding. https://t.co/LleW5nyxF4— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) December 6, 2016
Other reporters contrasted this with the flood of fake news and conspiracy theories.
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work said the movement to cut waste lost momentum after then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was replaced with Ash Carter last year.