How the Pentagon Spent $1.6 Billion in a Day

There is nearly universal agreement in Washington that after a decade of war, defense spending it out of control. In an effort to rein it in, the DOD is expected to eliminate $600 billion from its budget over the next decade, the biggest military drawdown since the end of the Cold War.

But dismantling the Pentagons budget is not a matter of simple budget cutting. DOD has guaranteed payments to contractors for work yet to be done and some of these commitments stretch years into the future.

 Youre talking about an agency that is spending more than the GDP of most countries in the world, employing more than 3 million people and conducting 15 to 20 million transactions per year, said Gordon Adams, a defense budget expert and American University professor.

The big-ticket projects are typically the ones that draw the most criticism from Pentagon budget watchdogs. Much of this condemnation is warranted, as the anticipated $1.5 trillion cost of the F-35 fight plane is already bigger than the GDP of Australia.

But smaller projects often escape scrutiny, despite costing the Pentagon hundreds of millions of dollars. To illustrate just how the Pentagon spends money each day, The Fiscal Times picked a random day March 4, 2013 and reviewed what contracts the Pentagon awarded on that day. From weapons systems to prescription drugs, the daily cost of running the Pentagon added up quickly: 10 days ago, the Pentagon spent $1,614,108,656.

WHERE THE BIG MONEY WENTThe majority of the $1.6 billion ....

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