Senator Tom Coburn Speaks Out On Wasteful Spending In Defense Department

Thursday, November 15th 2012, 5:52 pm
By: Craig Day

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., talks about a plan he believes will slash military spending but not impact national security.

He said the Department of Defense is spending millions on some very surprising things that have no benefit to the military.

He's particularly upset about $1.5 million to develop a roll-up version of beef jerky, a study on Twitter slang and research of dinosaur feathers.

It's all paid for through the Department of Defense, or what Coburn calls the "Department of Everything."

"First of all, I think we need to talk about what has actually happened and undermine a little bit of the BS," Coburn said.

Calling himself a budget hawk and a military hawk, Coburn said cuts need to be made in the $600 billion federal budget.

"Couldn't you imagine, through efficiency, common sense and just smart thinking, we could save 5 to 7 to 8 percent of that, and the answer is ‘absolutely,'" Coburn said.

Coburn said that includes defense, but it can be done without impacting national security.

"What you're seeing is we're getting a whole lot less, but spending a whole lot more," Coburn said.

Coburn's oversight report points out surprising places where taxpayer defense dollars are going --

like a mobile app developed by the Pentagon to alert users when to take a coffee break, money for a reality cooking show, taxpayer dollars to make interstellar space travel feasible, and even a study on robots as children's playmates.

Coburn said the danger is real, since the nation borrows $50-,000 every second.

"Our Generals tell us the greatest threat to our nation is not any foreign power -- it's not the Middle East, it's not Al Qaida -- it's our debt," he said.

Other areas of spending on "non defense" programs include military grocery stores, Coburn said.

"You could actually give every family in the military $400 to $500 more for their groceries and save $8-$9 billion a year for the Pentagon."

The Pentagon also spends $580 million on non-military health initiatives.

"I'm all for breast cancer research that we're doing, but why should we be running it through the Pentagon?" he said.

Other agencies often duplicate those expenses.

Coburn said $68 billion could be trimmed over 10 years.