1. Letter
  2. U.S. Wars & Militarism

FCNL Joins Coalition Calling to Rein in Wasteful Pentagon Spending

July 8, 2019


On July 8, FCNL joined with 13 other organizations from across the ideological spectrum to send a letter to key House leaders about proposed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. Read the letter below.

July 8, 2019

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House The Honorable Kevin McCarthy Minority Leader The Honorable Jim McGovern Chairman, Committee on Rules The Honorable Tom Cole Ranking Member, Committee on Rules

Dear Representatives Pelosi, McCarthy, McGovern, and Cole:

The undersigned groups represent a broad, bipartisan coalition concerned about wasteful and ineffective spending at the Pentagon. As you prepare to consider H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, we hope you will keep in mind ways to eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending, implement smart reforms that enhance national security, and increase transparency and oversight over Pentagon spending. We are very concerned that authorizing $733 billion in spending, including $69 billion for a wartime slush fund, is in excess of our national security needs. We are also disappointed to see a continued pattern of using that slush fund for programs and projects unrelated to our wars or contingencies, including using those funds for military construction. A number of recent studies have identified opportunities to reduce the Pentagon’s budget by hundreds of billions of dollars. While others are recklessly calling for massive increases in funding at the Pentagon, we urge you first to look at sensible reforms that could save billions of dollars per year from the bloated Pentagon budget while maintaining national security.

We urge you to make in order the following amendments:

Amendment 198 - Omar (D-MN) - Strikes additional funds for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

Amendment 206 - Jayapal (D-WA) - Requires studies to analyze opportunities for potential cost savings to the nuclear security enterprise and force structure.

Amendment 220 - Omar (D-MN) - Strikes using the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account for military construction.

Amendment 223 - Omar (D-MN) - Requires annual Department of Defense reporting on the cost of all overseas operations, including permanent military bases and installations, as well as their national security benefits.

Amendment 227 - Schrader (D-OR), Rooney (R-FL), Welch (D-VT) - Requires the Department of Defense to report to Congress on ways they are finding and implementing savings laid out by the 2016 Defense Business Board report and for alternative recommendations to achieve identified cost-savings.

Amendment 229 - Foster (D-IL) - Requires any Department of Defense base, division, or project that has not yet passed an audit to contribute 2 percent of its budget into a fund to provide an independent audit by an accredited audit firm.

Amendment 242 - Aguilar (D-CA) - Requires budget officials from the Department of Defense, Office of Management and Budget, and National Nuclear Security Administration to be present at Nuclear Weapons Council and Standing and Safety Committee meetings, thereby ensuring budgetary concerns are taken into account when decisions are made.

Amendment 248 - Cohen (D-TN) - In response to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s findings that Lockheed Martin was not providing ready-for-issue spare parts, this amendment directs the Department of Defense to pursue compensation from the contractor for costs of spare parts non-ready for issue spare parts.

Amendment 275 - Davidson (R-OH) - Reduces the number of two-, three-, and four-star general billets for each year in which the Department of Defense fails to successfully conduct its required audit.

Amendment 338 - Meadows (R-NC) - Makes delinquent or unpaid federal taxes one of the data elements federal contractors are required to disclose and periodically update in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS).

Amendment 356 - Porter (D-CA) - Preserves the requirement for the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation to produce a public annual report.
Amendment 370 - Khanna (D-CA), Lee (D-CA), DeFazio (D-OR) - Reduces funding from the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account by $16.8 billion, to prevent a topline Department of Defense spending increase from the FY2019 level. The amendment would only reduce OCO funds in the Operations and Maintenance account.

Amendment 394 - Speier (D-CA), Phillips (D-CA) - Requires former senior defense officials seeking to work for a defense contractor to seek an ethics opinion before accepting compensation within four, and not two, years of leaving the Department of Defense. Increases lobbying registration requirements and also requires the information to be posted publicly.

Amendment 420 - Blumenauer (D-OR) - Requires the Secretary of the Air Force to comply with the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act requirement to disclose the matrices related to the contract award for the B-21 bomber aircraft program.

Amendment 428 - Lynch (D-MA) - Reestablishes the Commission on Wartime Contracting and requires it to examine the following categories of spending: federal agency contracting funded by the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account, federal agency contracting for the logistical support of coalition forces operating under the 2001 or 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), and federal agency contracting for the performance of security functions in countries where coalition forces are operating under the 2001 or 2002 AUMF.

Amendment 498 - Graves (R-LA) - Requires a report regarding management of military commissaries and exchanges to the congressional defense committees.

Amendment 532 - Ryan (D-OH), Cole (R-OK) – Amends the “commercial products” definition to require that qualifying items are in fact sold to the general public in significant quantities. This closes a loophole that exempts items merely “offered for sale, lease, or license” from cost and pricing data disclosure.

Amendment 626 - Horn (D-OK), Cole (R-OK) - Directs the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General to conduct an audit of each of the military services and DoD agencies, as applicable, to determine if there has been any excess profit or excessive cost escalation in sole-source, commercial depot maintenance contracts--including for the costs of parts, supplies, equipment and maintenance services provided for by these contracts.

Given the breadth and scope of the Department’s budget—the largest single pot of discretionary taxpayer dollars— solemn consideration is needed to ensure that our nation’s war-fighting capabilities have the most effective impact while meeting the highest standards. There is a presiding public interest in debate of the above recommended reforms, as evidenced by the wide ideological spectrum of the under-signed groups, and it is critical that Congress take the opportunity to engage in that debate. We thank you for considering our broad consensus for encouraging robust debate on the many opportunities to find sensible savings to make our nation more secure.

Sincerely,
Campaign For Liberty
Center for International Policy
Coalition on Human Needs
Coalition to Reduce Spending
Demand Progress
Friends Committee on National Legislation
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
National Taxpayers Union
Peace Action
Project on Government Oversight
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Directions