Stories of mismanagement, cost over-runs, fraud, huge prices for mundane items, and expensive weapons systems that don't work seem to keep flowing out of the so-called U.S. military-industrial complex.
The latest shocker involves multi-million-dollar stockpiles of military spare parts that are essentially useless because they fail to meet Pentagon specifications.Worse, the Defense Department has no regular system for spot-checking spare parts as they are delivered to make sure they work.
And even worse than that, even when useless parts are found, the Pentagon keeps ordering more of the same from the same supplier.
A two-year Defense Department audit - randomly choosing parts at an air logistics center in Georgia - found an estimated $104 million worth of critical spare parts that don't work. About 58 percent of the gun parts, for example, were unusable.
Military supply chiefs have admitted they need to do more checking of parts when they are delivered. But there also needs to be better communication. The audit found many examples of contractors who shipped defective parts to one branch of the service, but other branches weren't told of the problem and ordered more of the same or similar parts.
At the Georgia center, one section of the facility gave new work to a contractor while another section hauled $1.5 million worth of parts from the same contractor to the scrap yard.
If nothing else, these and similar horror stories seem to indicate that the Pentagon has too much money and is throwing a lot of it away. Tighter budgets might lead to more efficiency and less waste.