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Watchdog groups urge Congress to reform Pentagon spending

WASHINGTON — A coalition of 28 watchdog groups have sent an open letter to Congress about spending at the Pentagon, saying “spending smarter can make us stronger.”

It’s the second annual letter that the groups have sent to Capitol Hill about wasteful spending at the Defense Department, with six new groups joining the effort this year. Their message is that there is too much wasteful spending at DOD, and it comes at the expense of servicemembers.

“It stems from a number of letters that we’ve sent — that after a decade and a half of military budgets going up and now coming down, we need to have a conversation about what makes sense,” said Stephen Miles, coalition coordinator of Win Without War, one of the letter’s signatories.

“We know we’re spending money where we shouldn’t be, and maybe there’s other things in which we’re under-investing ... We’ve looked at these things collectively, whether our groups are from the left or right or center or everywhere in between, that there’s some things we can agree on to make our voice more powerful.”

Miles points to the Project On Government Oversight as the lead group to write the letter, which was joined by such groups as Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers For Common Sense, Taxpayers For Common Alliance, the National Taxpayers Union, the Campaign for America’s Future and the national coalition of the Public Interest Research Group.

The letter specifies that spending on military bands can be reduced for a cost savings of $1.9 million, deferring development of Next Generation Bombers could save nearly $400 million per year; delaying the rebuilding of Abrams Tanks could save $3 billion over five years; the Air Force’s F-35 could be canceled at a cost of $4.6 billion, and cutting four submarines from next-generation fleet: $10 billion.

The biggest potential saving, according to the report: reforming DOD health care systems, at $40 billion over the next 10 years.

rushing.jt@stripes.com

Twitter: @jtr1

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