The Scam Artist Who Sold Fake Armored Trucks to U.S. Army

Fake Trucks



“Whyte’s fraud is symptomatic of rushed, desperate weapons-purchases that were common during the Pentagon’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. 

Years after the Iraq occupation morphed into a wider U.S. intervention targeting Islamic State militants, the Pentagon still doesn’t know exactly what it’s spending its money on.”

“Sometime in the summer of 2006, John Ventimiglia, a plant foreman for Canada-based Armet Armored Vehicles, visited the company’s Ontario factory to inspect several Kestrel armored trucks that Armet was assembling for the U.S. military in Iraq.

Ventimiglia was horrified by what he saw, according to court documents. The vehicles lacked the floor armor that the military had specified. Instead of special, blast-resistant mineplate, workers had installed fragile plywood planks. It was also apparent that workers were using sandbox-style play sand in the vehicles’ construction—although Ventimiglia wasn’t sure why.

Ventimiglia emailed his coworker Frank Skinner, who then approached the FBI. Nearly 12 years later, this past week, a U.S. district court sentencedArmet CEO William Whyte to five years in prison for supplying fake armored vehicles to the U.S. military during the height of the American-led occupation of Iraq. Seventy-two-year-old Whyte, of Ontario, must also pay back the U.S. government for the trucks.

“Evidence at trial demonstrated that Whyte executed a scheme to defraud the United States by providing armored gun trucks that were deliberately under-armored,” the Justice Department stated.

But the military’s contracting problems aren’t unique to Iraq.

In 2011, the congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan reported that contractors had cheated the Pentagon out of $31 billion since 2001 (PDF). In one 2007 case, two South Carolina sisters—co-owners of a small parts-supplier—were found guilty of billing the Pentagon $20 million for hardware that was worth a fraction of that.

“Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals out there who will take advantage of a wartime emergency, even one involving the lives and safety of our troops, to pad their own pockets,” Dan Grazier, a former Marine who is currently an analyst with the Project on Government Oversight in Washington, D.C., told The Daily Beast.

In Iraq, an escalating insurgency motivated many of the most flawed purchases. From mid-2005 to mid-2006, roadside bombs and other improvised explosive devices killed around 40 Americans per month in Iraq. Starting in 2006, the Defense Department spent $50 billion buying no fewer than 24,000 up-armored vehicles.

So-called Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected trucks, or MRAPs—built by major defense contractors—accounted for most of the new vehicles. But the crash effort drew in small companies too, some of which assembled less-complex armored trucks for hauling Iraqi and coalition officials around Baghdad and other Iraqi cities.

Armet Armored Vehicles was one of those smaller companies. The Ontario-based company, which also operated a factory in Danville, Virginia, specialized in adding armor to SUVs and building ambulances and police vehicles. The company provided vehicles for Fast Five, the 2011 installment in the Fast and Furious film franchise.

In March 2006 the Defense Department hired Armet to build Kestrel armored trucks based on the chassis of a Ford F550 pickup. The price: around $200,000 per truck, including shipping. All told, Armet stood to earn $4 million.

The first four Kestrels were due in Baghdad 45 days after Whyte signed the contract in mid-March 2006. The rest, by the end of July. “Here we go, the first 20 Kestrels for Baghdad,” Whyte emailed his staff, according to court documents. “The only problems that I see is the chassis and FINANCE!”

Whyte was correct that it would be problematic to finance what was, for Armet, a substantial boost in production. The company fell behind. Unable to build the trucks on time and to spec, Whyte essentially faked them—replacing some government-mandated floor armor with plywood and leaving gaps in the protection on other parts of the vehicles.

“He knew he couldn’t meet the deadline,” Frank Skinner, who in 2006 oversaw Armet’s Danville factory said of Whyte during the latter’s two-month trial in in the U.S. District Court for the western district of Virginia beginning in June 2015. The first two Kestrels arrived in Baghdad at least two months late. Around the same time, Skinner secretly contacted the FBI about Whyte’s fraud.

While building faulty trucks and delivering them late, Whyte hounded military officials to pay Armet in advance for future vehicles. The military refused most of the requests. “You need to stop using progress payments for an excuse for your inability to deliver these vehicles against any type of credible timeline,” Cmdr. Tommy Neville, a contracting officer in Baghdad, wrote to Whyte.

“We miscalculated and were deluded when we believed that money was forthcoming,” Whyte wrote to another military official in October 2006. Years later, federal prosecutors would allege that Whyte repainted some of the Kestrels he had built for, but not yet shipped to, the U.S. military and instead sold them to the Nigerian government—because the Nigerians offered a higher price. A judge threw out that complaint for a lack of evidence.

In March 2008, the Pentagon rejected the seventh gun truck that Armet had shipped to Iraq and canceled the contract. By then the military had paid Armet around $2 million for six trucks it could not use. The Justice Department indicted Whyte in July 2012 and issued a warrant for his arrest the same day.

“None of the armored gun trucks delivered by Armet and Whyte met the ballistic and blast protection requirements of the contracts, despite the defendant’s claims that the vehicles met the standards,” the FBI stated. “Armet and Whyte knew that each of the six armored gun trucks failed to meet the required standards, that they were defective, and that they would not protect the officials they were intended to protect.”

Whyte fled to Canada to avoid prosecution. Armet shut its doors. Canadian authorities extradited the former CEO after a three-year legal battle. On Oct. 9, a jury unanimously found Whyte guilty on three counts of major fraud against the United States, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of criminal false claims.

Five months later on Feb. 20, Judge Jackson Kiser sentenced Whyte to spend 70 months in prison—and to pay back the $2 million his company received for the fake armored vehicles.

For the Pentagon, the underlying problem likely persists. In January 2017, the Government Accountability Office estimated that, as recently as 2016, as much as 5 percent of all federal payments to individuals and contractors were “improper” and resulted in $144 billion in waste in that year alone (PDF).

But that calculation didn’t take into account military contracts, owing to “serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense that have prevented its financial statements from being auditable,” the GAOexplained. In late 2017 Congress finally passed a law requiring the Defense Department to conduct a full audit starting in 2018.

In the meantime, it’s unclear how many other William Whytes are out there, cheating American servicemembers and taxpayers. “This is just one of the many reasons why we need to have effective oversight of the DoD acquisition process,” Grazier said.”



Things Veterans Could Get For The Price Of A Parade

Homeless Vet Marketwatch dot com



“Instead of sending service members out into the streets…………… consider helping homeless veterans off of them.

Even the parade’s uber-thrifty low-end price projection, $10 million, is enough to give thousands of struggling veterans a “thank you” that really means something.”

“A Department of Defense memo sent to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford of March 9 laid out the plans for a sprawling military parade in Washington, D.C. for Veterans Day on November 11th, 2018. In addition to requiring active-duty service-members to cram into their dress uniforms and stand by to stand by to stand by for hours on end, the parade would have a whopping price tag of somewhere between $10 and $30 million, according to the White House.

This is a puzzling proposition — and not just because the last time the U.S. enjoyed a military parade was after our last actual victory, following the conclusion of the Gulf War in 1991. Indeed, planning the big, fanfare-swaddled spend for Veterans Day seems like something of an insult to the estimated 40,056 veterans who are homeless on any given night, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates.

Here’s what else that marching-around money could do:

Feed America’s Homeless Veterans For a Month

As Newsweek points out, the average cost of a single hot meal in the U.S. clocks in at $2.94 (although it can jump as high as $5.61, depending on where you live). That comes out to more than 3.4 million hot meals, or 84 square feasts for each homeless veteran in the U.S. — enough to feed each hungry ex-warfighter three times a day for 28.3 days. I’m not sure about you, but I’d take eating for a month over a dumb parade any day.

Give Vets Some  Rent Money

Rental assistance currently helps more than 340,000 veterans to afford decent housing — and, according to a 2014 report, has reduced veteran homelessness by 33% since 2010. But that housing assistance has been imperiled in recent months: In December, Politico reported that the VA planned to divert $460 million specifically set aside for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, which provides vets with housing vouchers. (The VA officially did an about-face on that plan in February after a public outcry, but the department’s initial thinking suggests those funds are negotiable.)

Forking over $10 million in erstwhile parade money could help. A landlord of a single HUD-VASH voucher recipient in, say, New York City, could expect to see $1,256 a month, with up to $1,500 in one-time incentives for choosing a vet over another Section 8 applicant. Heck, that’s enough to put roughly 3,600 vets up in the Big Apple for a month — long enough to get sweet jobs blogging with us!

Give major homeless Vet Centers a Big Fat Endowment

There are a 30 VA-funded Community Resource and Referral Centers (CRRCs) across the country that offer services related to health and mental health care, housing support, career assistance, and access to benefits for homeless veterans. And they’re essential: 29,000 vets received assistance through CRRCs in 2015, according to VA data.

A nice fat $330,000 check for each facility could do a lot of long-term good — especially if the money, say, funds endowments to allow each center to further expand, regardless of future budget woes in Washington. Why the VA doesn’t have its own endowment boggles the mind, unless it’s because the next war will be fought by pointy-headed Harvard intellectuals. (Just kidding; they plan the wars; they don’t fight em.)”






Amid Little Scrutiny US Military Ramps Up in Afghanistan



Is Korea the Model for Afghanistan?


“The U.S. is bolstering its military presence in Afghanistan, more than 16 years after the war started. Is anyone paying attention?

At a Senate hearing this past week on top U.S. security threats no senator asked about Afghanistan, suggesting little interest in a war with nearly 15,000 U.S. troops supporting combat against the Taliban.”

“It’s not as if the war’s end is in sight.

This June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan. (Sgt. Justin T. Updegraf/Marine Corps via via AP)
This June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan. (Sgt. Justin T. Updegraf/Marine Corps via via AP)

Just last month the bulk of an Army training brigade of about 800 soldiers arrived to improve the advising of Afghan forces. Since January, attack planes and other aircraft have been added to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

But it’s not clear that the war, which began in October 2001, is going as well as the U.S. had hoped seven months after President Donald Trump announced a new, more aggressive strategy. The picture may be clearer once the traditionally most intensive fighting season begins in April or May. Over the winter, American and Afghan warplanes have focused on attacking illicit drug facilities that are a source of Taliban revenue.

One of Washington’s closest watchers of the Afghanistan conflict, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote last month that the administration has made major improvements in military tactics and plans for developing Afghan forces but has “done nothing to deal with civil and political stability.” That challenge is expected to come into clearer focus with the approach of parliamentary elections planned for July.

The administration “not only faces a deteriorating security situation, it has no clear political, governance, or economic strategy to produce Afghan stability,” Cordesman said. In his view, the U.S. military has been assigned a “mission impossible” in Afghanistan.

The weak central government in Kabul and the resilient Taliban insurgency are not the U.S. military’s only problems there. It also faces what Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. general overseeing the war, calls interference by Russia. He told a congressional panel last month that Moscow is seeking to undermine U.S. and NATO influence in Afghanistan by exaggerating the presence of Islamic State fighters there and portraying this as a U.S. failure.

When Trump announced in August that he was ordering a new approach to the war, he said he realized “the American people are weary of war without victory.” He said his instinct was to pull out, but that after consulting with aides, he decided to seek “an honorable and enduring outcome.” He said that meant committing more resources to the war, giving commanders in the field more authority and staying in Afghanistan for as long as it takes.

An Afghan security members stands guards near the site of car bomb attack targeting a foreign forces, in Kabul on March 2, 2018. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)
An Afghan security members stands guards near the site of car bomb attack targeting a foreign forces, in Kabul on March 2, 2018. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Stephen Biddle, a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, said Americans’ relative lack of interest in the war gives Trump political maneuver room to conduct the war as he wishes, but that dynamic is not necessarily a good one.

“The idea that a democracy is spending billions of dollars a year, killing people and sacrificing American lives waging war, and the elected representatives of the people aren’t paying attention I think is inappropriate,” Biddle said. “But to say it is inappropriate isn’t to say it’s surprising, because this is the way Congress has been behaving toward this war for a long, long time.”

Last November, the U.S. commander in Kabul, Gen. John Nicholson, said the Afghan army, with U.S. support, had “turned the corner” and captured momentum against the Taliban. Since then, the Taliban have conducted a series of high-profile attacks in Kabul and elsewhere that have killed scores of civilians. U.S. officials have portrayed this as desperation tactics by the Taliban, arguing that they are unable to make new territorial gains.

Dan Coats, the director of U.S. national intelligence, offered a less optimistic forecast when he testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

“We assess the overall security picture will … modestly deteriorate in the coming year and Kabul will continue to bear the brunt of the Taliban-led insurgency,” Coats said. Afghan forces, while “unsteady,” probably will maintain control of most major population centers in 2018, he added.

Testifying at the same hearing, Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, offered a mixed outlook. He forecast that Afghan forces this year will continue to develop offensive combat power. But he also predicted the Taliban will “threaten Afghan stability, undermine public confidence by conducting intermittent high-profile attacks in urban areas,” increase its influence in rural areas and threaten district centers.

The Defense Department’s special inspector general for Afghanistan said in January that Afghan government control or influence has declined and Taliban control or influence has increase since the U.S. watchdog began reporting this type of data in January 2016.

It said in a follow-up report last month that as of October 2017, about 20.9 million Afghans, or 64 percent of the total population of 32.5 million, lived in areas where the government has control or influence. The rest of the population was in areas under Taliban control or influence, or deemed “contested” by both sides.”



Establishing Trust in the Modern Era



We have yet to evolve a modern, technically astute and informed process of vetting the media and similar sources of information.

Communications and expectations are two vital elements in measuring that process.To an extraordinary degree the age in which we live is requiring us to redefine trust and the degree to which communication and expectation contribute to it.

Consider simpler times a few years past (say 50). Trust was necessary in many venues as a means of survival on a day to day basis. We relied on others extensively for our well being from our local store to our banker, from the policeman to the politician.

And we knew them all better, we could reach out and touch them and we were not viewing them in sound bites and web sites, nor were we being bombarded with multiple forms of input to digest about them.

Mass marketing and communications has created expectations beyond reality in venues from romance web sites to building wealth.

We must come down to earth and become much more sophisticated in the manner with which we view all this input and sift it in a meaningful way to have true trust. If we do not we run a high risk and that fact is inescapable.

To a very large degree this is a personal responsibility.



Beyond The ‘Broken Veteran’

Veterans SteemKR

Photo: “SteemKR”

“WAR ON THE ROCKS” By Rebecca Burgess

“The broken veteran narrative, unintentionally fueled by the tone of veteran legislation, certainly contributes to the real difficulties today’s veterans face in transitioning into civilian life.

The unexplored historical relationship between public perception, legislation, and veteran identity suggests that reframing veteran legislation and strengthening civilian identity may be the Joint Action Plan today’s veterans need to thrive after their  service.”

“January opened with President Donald Trump’s directive to the various Secretaries of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security to formulate a “Joint Action Plan” for supporting veterans in their transition to civilianhood by expanding suicide prevention resources. January ended with the viral video of a California schoolteacher lambasting present, past, and future veterans as the “freakin’ lowest of the low” — society’s permanent failures — to a classroom of underage students. Equating military recruiters to pimps, the teacher excoriated the idea that anything positive could be linked with the military.

A continent apart in more than tone, the president’s executive order and the teacher’s rant nonetheless share an underlying premise: Veterans are a uniquely afflicted group. Despite a wealth of contrary evidence and both military and civilian observers urging a change in perspective, the broken veteran narrative has had an astonishing resilience.

America does have a “veteran problem,” but perhaps not the one we’ve concentrated our popular attention on. Nor is today’s version unique to the 21st century.  Throughout U.S. history, war generations have emphasized either the challenge veterans can pose to social stability, or the challenge commercial society can pose to the disabled veteran. Legislative solutions have been framed accordingly: The particular tone of veteran legislation has historically emphasized the disadvantages, if not “brokenness,” of veterans.

In parallel, veterans have developed their own unique sense of identity. “Veteranness” has mutated from a personality trait before the Civil War to a comprehensive sense of self with its own marketing brand in the post-9/11 All Volunteer Force age.


In 1944, sociologist Willard Waller was anticipating the re-civilianizing of the nearly 16 million American servicemen of World War II, many of whom would soon be in university classrooms like his at Columbia.

As long as America had had veterans, Waller pointed out in “The Veteran Comes Back,” it has had had some type of “veteran problem.” That stood to some reason:

Our kind of democratic society is probably worse fitted than any other for handling veterans. An autocracy, caring nothing for its human materials, can use up a man and throw him away. A socialistic society that takes from each according to his abilities and gives to each according to his needs can use up a man and then care for him the rest of his life. But a democracy, a competitive democracy like ours, that cares about human values but expects every man to look out for himself, uses up a man and returns him to the competitive process, then belatedly recognizes the injustice of his procedure and makes lavish gestures of atonement in his direction.

The sociologist wasn’t praising nondemocratic forms of rule. He was highlighting how the principles around which the experiment of American democracy was organized — liberty and equality, personal responsibility, private property, and limited government — exist in some legitimate tension with how such a government ought properly to acknowledge and repay individuals who have defended it.

Waller believed the real questions about veterans resuming their civilian way of life were bound up with the psychology of the soldier. Returning the soldier to civilian life in the modern world, he argued, had to start with understanding the veteran’s attitudes against the backdrop of industrial warfare, mass conscription, and a cog-in-the-machine mentality. “We must learn what it is … to be, for a time, expendable, and then to be expendable no more.” What happens, he wondered, when the “expendable one” returns from facing death?

George Washington had puzzled over a similar difficulty. The commander of the Continental Army felt intuitively that veterans needed to maintain a sense of self after military service. In his Farewell Orders to the Armies of the United States, Washington recommended that veterans funnel their energies as soon as possible into active pursuits, and “prove themselves not less virtuous and useful as Citizens, than they [were] persevering and victorious as soldiers.”

Washington’s insight was that soldiers cannot simply remain ex-soldiers once their period of service is fulfilled. He knew that soldiers “walk the weird wall at the edge of civilization,” as Reed Robert Bonnadona puts it: The people who have historically been the staunchest defenders of their societies have also sometimes posed the greatest threat to it. From this juxtaposition Washington formed his idea that the citizen-turned-soldier could — and must — turn back into the citizen again.

For Washington, ex-soldiers’ veteran status was only one (temporary) part of their American identity. This was a crucial plank of his argument that the new nation could have a professional army without endangering the liberties of citizens. Alexis de Tocqueville gave the more explicit explanation several decades later, when he showed why the American soldier displays “a faithful image of the nation.” Most democratic citizens would rather reserve their passions and ambitions for civilian life than for martial grandeur, he wrote, because they think of military service as at most a passing obligation, not an identity. “They bow to their military duties, but their souls remain attached to the interests and desires they were filled with in civil life.”


In the era of Washington and Tocqueville, American veterans were not an alien faction different from society at large. Since then, however, the end of each subsequent conflict has spurred the public to think of ex-soldiers as a discrete group with certain special claims on society’s gratitude. The War of 1812 cemented the outcome of the Revolution and gave Americans a renewed sense of their independence. The public’s attention turned to appreciate the role of the Continental Army. The aging of the surviving soldiers and some public romanticizing of their persons as archetypes of national character, led to a public movement in favor of pensions for the neglected “suffering soldier.” The “suffering soldier” became such a powerful public trope that even though the Senate invoked 40 years of accepted republican principle about pension establishments being aristocratic and corruption-prone, President James Monroe signed the Revolutionary War Pension Act in 1818.  The legislation fused the idea of a service pension to the concept of public assistance for the aged poor, laying the groundwork for how the system of American military service-related benefits would evolve.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the changing face of industrialized society, technologies of war, and beliefs about the role of government have expanded each generation’s understanding of its debt to soldiers. The early practice of granting only disability pensions to war veterans grew to include professional or vocational training after World War I, to college tuition assistance and low-interest home loans after World War II.  Finally, these benefits were expanded to all who have served in uniform, whether during war or peacetime. At the same time, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society programs expanded the paradigm of government’s obligations to all citizens. Nevertheless, today, there are those who would extend the above-mentioned benefits even to soldiers with an “Other Than Honorable” discharge — reflecting how much veteran identity has come to be wedded to a legal status premised on the perceived cost of service. The pension/benefits narrative has corralled anyone who has worn a uniform into a unique category of society in the eyes of the public.

The way veterans have responded to their evolving status has both reflected and informed national attitudes. Largely because of the sheer numbers involved in the Civil War and, especially, in World War I, soldiers who had survived these massive conflicts, protracted campaigns, and deadlier weapons began to think of themselves more narrowly — as survivors of epic experiences who would forever have more in common with those who had seen such killing fields than with civilians who had not. John A. Casey charts this transformation in “New Men,” showing that whereas former soldiers and civilians alike once viewed military service more as an episode in a man’s life and a set of acquired skills that all could appreciate, in the post-bellum era both groups began to view service as a transformative experience that produced a new identity, one civilians couldn’t interpret.

Historians and military scholars debate exactly how different the Civil War was from prior conflicts. Casey argues that “it is the changed rhythm of war more than anything that marks it as different.” While more traditional set-piece battles marked the early campaigns of the war, the last two years witnessed nearly continuous fighting. Soldiers had no time to conceptualize what they had lived through or to recuperate. This “changed them in ways they never completely understood. All that was certain was they could not fully return to their antebellum sense of identity … They had been baptized by war and born again as new men.”

For Casey, the Civil War was when veterans and civilians changed their conception of war from an event to a liminal experience transforming the warfighter’s consciousness, analogous to religious conversion. It was Civil War veteran Oliver Wendell Holmes who likened combat to being “touched by fire,” like the Apostles. The postbellum trail of fiction and nonfiction writings authored by veterans illustrate this mindset. William Tecumseh Sherman’s “Memoirs,” Sam Watkins’s “Company Aytch,” and Ambrose Bierce’s stories all evince a struggle to find coherence in the traumatic events the authors experienced, a struggle to show the “real” war, and a sense of the inadequacy of their portrayal to make the uninitiated civilian reader “get it.”

Civil War veterans such John William De Forest (“Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty”), and Winslow Homer (“The Empty Sleeve at Newport”) also showed this literary and artistic consciousness at work. Lanier’s protagonist, Confederate veteran Phil Sterling, is a number rather than a name, his identity shattered by incarceration in a prisoner-of-war camp. Once released, the love of friends and family enables Sterling to recover his name and identity, but his combat experiences prevent him from feeling “at home.” Spectators of the same war, but not participants in it, Sterling’s loved ones cannot truly understand him.

“War literature” as a unique field of academic study is generally considered to have originated in the wake of the Civil War, Casey writes. These ex-soldiers presented wartime memories as something they alone could discuss, forging the path for how the Ernest Hemingways and other, more familiar “Lost Generation” soldier-poets of World War I wrote about war and the fighting man, establishing a now-defined genre.

Buttressing such artistic expressions, robust veterans’ associations, helped cement a national concept of “the veteran.” The Grand Army of the Republic provided a blueprint for the multiplicity of veterans associations, like the American Legion, that emerged after World War I in America and then in nearly every other country that had participated in the Great War. The visible, concrete image of the invalid veteran sans leg or arm played a significant role in transforming the concept of veteran into an enduring identity. Especially in France and America, these national associations helped solidify the public concept of the veteran as having unique needs necessitating specialized care and deserving of government support.

Cultural elements and political events played a tangible role here. Andrew J. Huebner reminds us in “The Warrior Image” that war correspondents and photography, while relevant from the Mexican War to the Civil War, swelled during WWI, though much of the imagery was censored from the public view until after the Armistice. The rise of newspaper publishing put images and accounts of struggling veterans in anybody’s hand. Meanwhile, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars held public rallies advocating for veterans’ benefits and encouraged the attenuate Bonus March, making the political presence of veterans impossible to ignore. Internationally, the Conférence Internationale des Associations de Mutilés et Anciens Combattants aimed to unite all veterans and “war invalids” of the Great War, including from former enemy countries Germany, Austria, and Bulgaria. In 1922, it boasted over 10 million members. And while many states struggled to respond to their invalid veterans, they often supplied them with free or discounted railway travel, enabling them to attend far-flung veteran rallies and reunions. The image of the permanently changed veteran was literally on the move.

It was this newer understanding of the veteran as a psychological identity, earned in the crucible of war, that Waller had in mind in 1944 when he asked what happens when “the expendable one returns.” Like Washington, Waller thought a transition back into the civilian community was both possible and essential, but he believed that post-service education would be key. Education, he argued, would give the soldier the mental tools with which to make sense of his warfighting experience juxtaposed against his perception of the civilian’s perspective.

Although Waller didn’t live to witness the effects of the 1944 GI Bill — the “Serviceman’s Readjustment Act” — the bill supported Waller’s theory and is widely considered to be one of the most successful pieces of legislation in American history (so successful that Great Society programs were patterned off it). Through its education and vocational training assistance and small business loans, the GI Bill helped millions of ex-soldiers bridge their war experience back to the civilian sector, to the net enrichment of their families and civil society. The absence of a public discussion of a postwar “veteran problem,” in comparison to the post-World War I and Civil War eras, reflects the success of the legislation.


In the decades since World War II, society has moved well past Washington and Waller’s viewpoints about post-service identity. Thanks to the cultural conflicts of the Vietnam era, the rise of identity politics, the medicalization of behavior, and the valorization of victimhood, in the era of the professionalized All-Volunteer Force, veterans are viewed as a “tribe apart.” Their increasingly medicalized image is linked to the relatively new field of neuropsychiatry. After Vietnam, Hollywood helped promulgate a perception of veterans as “walking time bombs.” This view was reinforced by  front-page stories in the New York Times proclaiming veterans to be “psychiatric casualties of war.”

In the late 1970s and 1980s, an extreme version of this diagnosis was crowned with scientific gravitas when a group of activist-psychiatrists led by the prominent Robert Jay Lifton testified that the veteran “returns as a tainted intruder … likely to seek continuing outlets for a pattern of violence to which they have become habituated.” Popular culture painted soldiers as “baby killers.” Within a generation, ex-soldiers in the public consciousness went from needing education to needing to be “rehumaniz[ed],” as Lifton put it.

Since 9/11, society has largely softened that extreme characterization of veterans. Instead of killers or victims, veterans are seen as victims, heroes, or victim-heroes. But that narrative stands in its own need of rehumanization — the modern-day perception of veterans needs to be brought down from mythologized heroes on a pedestal to the real world of public servants, adventure seekers, and bill payers who volunteer for military service. And yet, despite a fair amount of literature supporting this point, the narrative does not change much.

One reason for this is clear, and has to do with the historical originals of the concept of veteran identity. Legislation for veterans has traditionally been premised on a pension/benefits model that assumed that war — and now that any military service — adversely costs the soldier. Today’s identity-driven politics is particularly conducive to this narrative, as many in society seek to identify rights and bring about public policy outcomes specific to discrete, often historically underrepresented groups. And U.S. soldiers certainly qualify: Less than one percent of a nation’s population volunteers for active duty service. American soldiers become even intellectually underrepresented when the majority of their peers don’t know anything about them.

A second reason for the continued valorization of veterans follows from this last: Americans may have lost the robust sense of citizenship that previous generations relied on to make civilian life vibrant enough for veterans to embrace it. In the All-Volunteer Force era, perhaps it’s the civilian majority with its loose sense of civic connectedness that makes it difficult for veterans to subsume a veteran identity within the generalized civilian one. When Washington argued for former soldiers to think of themselves as fully civilian-citizens with a set of acquired military skills, many Americans felt a sense of patriotism and civic identity that shaped the calendar of their yearly activities. Missouri painter George Caleb Bingham may have over-eulogized this civic engagement in “Stump Speaking” and “County Election;” nevertheless, that strong sense seems to have weakened considerably since the 19th century. Today’s America no longer shares that identity, as suggested by factors from low voter turnout, “Man on the Street”-style public confessions of civic and historical ignorancedisinterest in civic education, to the “bowling alone” culture decried by Harvard’s Robert Putnam. In Putnam’s view, the comparably steep membership losses since the 1960s among trade unions, professional associations, chapter-based voluntary membership federations, and community groups documents “the erosion of America’s social connectedness and community involvement.” This is to say nothing of the 2016 election, whose after-action report notes the role that a hollowed-out sense of citizenship thanks to globalization played in the electoral returns.

To that first generation of Americans, citizenship wasn’t a passive label, but an active way of life. Jefferson relayed the sense of this understanding in his comment that citizenship is composed of the civic knowledge of rights, duties, and how to judge individuals worthy of public office; the practice of sound civic habits; and importantly, an informed attachment to the American regime and principles of the Constitution.

America’s political class today doesn’t exactly articulate this. As that California teacher’s rant shows, angry citizens are present in all layers of society. But we have little corresponding understanding of a robust citizenship animated by an informed attachment to American laws, principles and institutions, and the need for each generation to perpetuate them. It may not be possible — or preferable given the dynamics of today’s professional All-Volunteer Force — to return entirely to Washington’s designation of the veteran as simply the citizen. But it is both possible and pressing to return to that robust sense of citizenship that enabled citizens to be soldiers, and soldiers citizens.”

Rebecca Burgess manages the Program on American Citizenship at the American Enterprise Institute, where she focuses on veterans and their role in civil society and politics. She is the author of “Second Service: Military Veterans and Public Office.”







Army “Futures Command” Will Be Based In Major City To Blend With Tech And Academic Cultures


Futures CommandFutures Command Tech Spot

                                             Images: U.S. Army And Tech Spot


“Rather than base the command at an Army installation, the service is hoping to set up a more corporate environment where it will be easier to collaborate with tech and academic partners.

The next phase in its plans to centralize and streamline modernization under one Army Futures Command, including moves to lease office space in a major city where leaders will have access to civilian experts.”

“The Army is weeks away from unveiling the next phase in its plans to centralize and streamline modernization under one Army Futures Command.

The service will start with a list of 30 options due this week to the Army secretary and chief of staff, Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy told Army Times on Tuesday.

And once a headquarters is established, he added, it will be up to commanders to make decisions about military formalities and how those will mesh with partners from different backgrounds.

“This isn’t like a standard basing decision, where we’re moving a brigade combat team somewhere,” McCarthy said. “We needed access to academia and business, and those two kind of key characteristics. Where the systems engineers, software engineers are.”

“So there will probably be some adjustments to the culture,” McCarthy said.

That initial list of 30 cities will be narrowed down to 10, he said, and then further down to four finalists.

“[Vice Chief of Staff] Gen. [James] McConville and I will personally visit the down-select, and make an ultimate decision to the secretary and the chief in the late spring,” he said.

Ideally, the command will probably make a deal to rent out two or three floors of a building for the next decade, he added.

To go with that corporate environment, leaders will be able to make decisions about uniforms, scheduling and other customs inherent to a military command.

For example, McCarthy said, he noticed the cultural divide late last year during a visit to the University of Chicago, where the Army Research Lab unveiled its new partnership with the school.

“We get out — dress blues, French cuffs — we walk in, and everyone inside is wearing hoodies and blue jeans,” he said. “We’re trying to develop a relationship, a partnership with them. So, we recognize different cultures.”

Army Futures Command is due to reach initial operating capability this summer, which will include decisions on which members of the Army’s research, acquisitions and contracting organizations will head out to the new headquarters and who will be in charge.

“There’s not a vision of buildings closing and moving trucks,” McCarthy said. “Will some people move eventually? Probably. But there will be a different reporting structure initially.”





‘Different Spanks for Different Ranks’

Mil Justice Washington Times

Image: Washington Times


“The Air Force has never tried a single general officer by court-martial in its entire history, suggesting it shows higher-ranking personnel face different standards of punishment.

Four-star Gen. William “Kip” Ward, who misused thousands of taxpayer dollars was paid over $200,000 annually for two years to wait on the completion of an investigation that would quietly end his career and retire him as a lieutenant general, without a public airing of the charges against him.”

” Indeed, courts-martial for flag and general officers in all four services are exceedingly rare, particularly in recent history.

“I think we do have a problem with different spanks for different ranks,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, said in a Feb. 7 hearing into misconduct by senior military leaders, held by the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee. “As I understand it, there have been 70,000 courts-martial in the Air Force, for instance, and not one general officer has ever been court-martialed.” Her observation is technically true, as famed air power pioneer Billy Mitchell was administratively reduced in the Army Air Corps from brigadier general to colonel before his 1925 court-martial for insubordination. Mitchell’s trial was born not of salacious personal misconduct, but of his fiery, scathing critiques of the war department for not advancing the cause of air power with sufficient vigor. How times have changed: Mitchell was tried and convicted for advocating too fervently for his service. In modern days, admirals and generals are far more likely to be punished for corruption, graft, and sex crimes.

While Speier focused her ire on the Air Force, she also cited two former Army generals ― Maj. Gen. Ron Lewis, who used his government credit card at strip clubs in Rome and Seoul, and four-star Gen. William “Kip” Ward, who misused thousands of taxpayer dollars, borrowed military aircraft for personal use, and had staff members run personal errands for him. But while both officers lost a star ― and Ward was ordered to repay $82,000 ― neither was tried by court-martial. Speier omitted the recent, infamous cases of retired Maj. Gen. James Grazioplene, who was recalled from retirement to stand trial by court-martial for sexual assault offenses alleged to have occurred from 1983 to 1989; and Brig. Gen. Jeff Sinclair, charged with forcible sodomy and other charges related to fraternization. Sinclair pled guilty and was sentenced to a fine and a reprimand, then allowed to retired as a lieutenant colonel. Interestingly, Grazioplene’s prosecution will likely end on statute-of-limitation grounds, thanks to a recent landmark opinion by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

“A junior enlisted would get prosecuted” for doing what Lewis did, Speier said. Turning to Ward’s offenses, she said, “That’s theft, and under normal circumstances, that would be subject to a court-martial. One of the things that I would like to do…is that we take the time to make sure that everyone is being treated fairly in the military.” Speier omitted that Ward spent 24 months in limbo during the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Investigation as the “Special Assistant to the Army Vice Chief of Staff” – a do-nothing job with no official duties. Ward was paid over $200,000 annually for two years to wait on the completion of an investigation that would quietly end his career and retire him as a lieutenant general, without a public airing of the charges against him. That is certainly good work, if you can get it.

But Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris, the Air Force’s inspector general, disagreed. She said the Air Force’s data don’t show a disparity in punishments, and declared, “We hold our officers, actually, to a higher standard of accountability.”

Speier and Harris are both right. Officers are, from selection and throughout their careers, held to much higher standards than enlisted personnel, particularly those in the lowest ranks. But more senior personnel are also accorded special treatment and do, in fact, avoid punishments for acts that, if performed by a junior enlisted member, would certainly result in trial by court-martial and often confinement, if convicted.

During ordinary times — that is, when the armed services are not desperate for personnel because of a war―it is difficult to receive a commission, but it is easy to enlist. The military institution needs vastly more enlisted personnel. There are recruiting centers all across the country, with recruiters under heavy pressure to meet monthly quotas. Would-be officers, meanwhile, must compete actively for service academy appointments, ROTC slots, and the like. An appointment is no guarantee of a commission; Marine Corps Officer Candidates School boasts a typical 36 percent attrition rate, a figure that shows how seriously the Corps takes the award. Similarly, the promotion process actively tries to pare the officer ranks, with a brutal cut of 30 to 40 percent of the entire cohort at the selection point for major/lieutenant commander around the ten-year mark; enlisted soldiers can easily serve the 20 years to retirement if they’re marginally competent and refrain from major violations of the UCMJ.

Officers and senior NCOs are treated like professionals, whereas junior enlisted are treated almost like children. If a private is a few minutes late to work, all hell breaks loose. If a sergeant or captain is late, it is quite possible nobody will even notice since they typically don’t have a reporting formation. Even if a supervisor notices, they’ll much more readily accept normal “life happens” explanations―sick kid, stuck in traffic, and the like―in view of the responsibility the NCO and officer shoulder on behalf of the institution, and the fact NCOs and officers often work hours long past the time the troops have headed to the enlisted club, planning training and exercises, writing performance evaluations and awards, and studying their profession.

The more senior the soldier, the more they are held to high professional standards. They are expected to know their craft and set the right example for their subordinates. But they are also given much more credit for their past service and more benefit of the doubt for transgressions. Commanders, quite rightly, do not want to end the career of a good soldier, officer or enlisted, after 15 or 20 years of honorable service. Doing so would be not only demoralizing to subordinates, who will be signalled that their contributions, too, will be dismissed if they make one mistake, but the penalty is simply more harsh as time goes on―loss of retirement pay and the end of a chosen career.

For example, one of the authors of this piece was involved in a misconduct case years ago in Iraq: a violation of General Order 1 regarding the consumption of alcohol. Seven lieutenants from a single squadron slated for redeployment celebrated a couple days too early by getting drunk in their quarters on a major U.S.airbase. These seven officers had accumulated scores of Air Medals and Strike/Flight numerals, and had hundreds of hours of combat flight time between them. They were the future of Marine combat aviation in their aircraft type. If the general officer deciding their fate had applied the same standard as he would have a lance corporal in that circumstance, he would have robbed the Corps of a major fraction of a generation of combat aviation expertise. Instead, he took the seven lieutenants to nonjudicial punishment, locked them down for the rest of the deployment, and, upon returning to their home station, set aside the punishment and removed the marker from the record books―never to be mentioned again and recorded nowhere in any Marine personnel record. It was a completely legitimate outcome, because the Corps had millions of dollars and thousands of hours of experience invested in these seven officers. At last count, five of them are now majors in Marine squadrons or on instructor duty, teaching a new generation of nugget pilots how to fly in combat. “One size fits all” punishment in this instance would have been a penny-wise, pound-foolish outcome.

Similarly, a general officer will have served at least 22 years before pinning on that first star;  four-star officers may be close to four decades in uniform. Because they’re expected to set the highest example, they will be cashiered for offenses―say, sleeping with the wife of a subordinate―that a more junior soldier might survive. At the same time, it would be unconscionable to strip away all they have contributed over anything but a heinous offense that seriously damages their position and the faith that more junior personnel place in them. The example of Kip Ward springs to mind―helping himself to lavish luxuries at the government’s expense, in a salacious display of self-entitlement that would make Caligula blush. Ward’s breaches of integrity earned his inglorious end―yet, even so, his career was ended without a court-martial.

Finally, it is also true there’s a “protect our own” mentality within the “club” of the senior ranks. These people will have served together for decades and will have greater empathy for one another than for a junior soldier. Many of them see leadership of the armed forces as a sacred calling for which few are chosen, and they protect their prerogatives accordingly. There is also the fear that scandals among the senior ranks will damage the prestige in which the profession is held by the general public, which perversely cultures a general atmosphere of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. The combination of these factors leads to pressuring generals who have violated the rules to resign quietly―ending their career but keeping their pensions and the lucrative private-sector salary that comes with being a retired flag officer.

This, naturally, looks bad from the standpoint of a young private or a member of Congress. There are, indeed, different spanks for different ranks. But there are also different considerations.”



How Are U.S. Government Contracts Negotiated and Awarded?




“Unlike commercial business, the vast majority of government contracts are subject to negotiation.

Even in competitive procurements, the government may award a contract based on best value (a combination of technical, cost and other factors) not necessarily to the lowest price bidder.”

“The final price paid by the government is then subject to negotiation. Under General Services Administration (GSA) Schedules and Indefinite Delivery/Indefinate Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts, terms and conditions and labor hour pricing are agreed upon in advance but individual delivery orders are negotiated separately regarding the labor hours, material and travel cost necessary to complete a discrete scope of work.

Cost Plus and Time and Material contracts are also negotiated procurements on many occasions. Only small, fixed price purchase orders under $25,000 and items purchased under FAR Part 12, “Commercial Contracting”, are awarded solely on the basis of price.

Contract negotiations can fall under three (3) different business scenarios:

Negotiations directly with a government contracting officer pursuant to a federal government contract

Negotiations with a prime contractor for a subcontract under the prime’s federal government contract

Negotiations with a subcontractor to establish a price and flow down the terms and conditions of your contract with the federal government.


In federal government contracting each of the above scenarios pass through the following template of negotiation steps:

A. Audit

B. Fact-finding

C. Pre-award Survey

D. Cost Negotiations

E. Final Profit Negotiations

F. Contract Award

The above template is recognized throughout the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and in the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) Handbook. All government agencies and contractors utilize it.”



New Chief Management Officer to Lead Pentagon Bureaucracy Overhaul


Nickel and dimingrisk


John H. “Jay” Gibson II



“John H. “Jay” Gibson II, the former deputy undersecretary of defense for management reform, officially began work last week as the Pentagon’s chief management officer in the latest attempt to shake up Department of Defense bureaucracy.”

“As the No. 3 official at the Defense Department, after Secretary Jim Mattis and Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Gibson now has the enormous task of setting policy and overseeing all of the DoD’s business operations to include planning, performance management, information technology management and resource allocation.

Gibson “will lead our efforts to synchronize technology, people, resources and processes to achieve reform,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said at a briefing last Thursday.

White said Gibson will also take on a previously undisclosed duty.

“He will also manage the fourth estate,” meaning DoD press operations, as well as “the DoD staff and agencies that don’t fall under our military services.”

As CMO, Gibson will be leading what the DoD is billing as the largest management reorganization of the Pentagon since the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which bolstered the office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and re-organized the military chain of command.

Shanahan told defense reporters in December that creation of the CMO’s position “goes to the fundamental restructuring of the department.”

“Congress has written in the law many, many times that we need to have a chief management officer,” Shanahan said, and “a good portion of Jay’s responsibility is going to help us transition organizationally and technically.”

Under a reorganization plan approved last August, the new post of CMO will have major responsibilities in the areas of logistics and supply; real property; community services; human resources; health care; and technology systems.

Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, said he expects Gibson to get pushback in all those areas from the entrenched bureaucracy.

“You’ll probably hear screaming and yelling” because of the belief among some career officials that “change is bad,” he said.

However, “if you’re going to have a more performance-driven operation, you have to unwind the bureaucracy and reorganize,” Shanahan said.

Gibson is also expected to have major input in how the Pentagon goes about the breakup of the of DoD’s Office of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L).

Under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2018, AT&L was split last month to create a new undersecretary of defense for Research and engineering (R&E) and a new undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment (A&S).

In the lead-up to passage of the NDAA, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, both argued that splitting AT&L is vital to streamlining the cumbersome process of getting new weapons and technology into the hands of warfighters.

Shanahan also said he expects Gibson, a former assistant secretary of the Air Force and former chief executive of XCOR Aerospace, to make changes in how the DoD operates that could not be undone by future administrations.”




Pentagon’s New Problem After Years Of Crying Poverty: Spending All The Cash



Spending all that Cash

Image: Activist


“After complaining for years that it was starved for cash, the Pentagon now says it may have more money than it can possibly spend.

The windfall is due to a budget deal between Congress and the White House last month that promises an added $80 billion for defense this fiscal year, including a requested $19.6-billion hike for “operations and maintenance”.

“Defense Secretary James N. Mattis pushed for a sharp increase in the account this year, arguing that years of budget wrangling had degraded the military’s readiness to wage war.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis pushed for a sharp increase in the account this year, arguing that years of budget wrangling had degraded the military’s readiness to wage war.

Congress is still finalizing 2018 appropriations levels for the Pentagon, a delay that has generals and admirals worried about spending all the promised cash in the five months remaining before the end of the fiscal year.

“We have a year’s worth of money … and five months to spend it,” Gen. Glenn Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said at a Senate Armed Services Committee budget hearing.

Critics say that giving the military more money than it can absorb invites waste and abuse, noting that the Pentagon has a long history of overpayments, cost overruns and fiscal shenanigans.

“They cried wolf and now they have more than they can possibly put to use,” said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Center for Defense Information, a policy organization critical of Pentagon budget practices. “I think it’s dangerous because you are going to see a use-it-or-lose-it kind of spending.”

Pentagon officials are worried about giving money back after claiming that mandatory spending caps since 2011, known as a sequester, had affected training, planning and maintenance. There is no guarantee Congress or the White House will prove so generous next year.

Due to Congress’ delay in passing appropriations bills, Pentagon officials are urging lawmakers to allow them to carry over unspent funds into 2019 or shift them to other accounts if they are unable to disburse all the operations and maintenance money by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

“We’re going to do our best to spend it in that time frame,” Gen. Stephen Wilson, vice chief of staff of the Air Force, told Congress at a hearing. “The add is so significant that we’re going to have to look at having the ability to transfer some of that money from account to account.”

By longstanding tradition, the House and Senate appropriations committees require the Pentagon to spend operations and maintenance funds the same year they are provided — or give the money back to the Treasury.

That’s different than other categories of defense spending, like research and development money, which is usually available for up to two years, or procurement funds for buying ships, planes and vehicles, which are provided for up to three years.

At $206billion in 2017, the operations and maintenance account is around 40% of the Pentagon’s annual base budget of $523billion. Its spending has been under tight control since Congress imposed budget caps aimed at reducing the deficit in 2011.

The additional funds are earmarked for stepped-up training, spare parts, fuel and restocking supplies of bombs and bullets, among other items.

The increase comes on top of a decades-old expansion in operations and maintenance funding, according to a report made public in January by the Congressional Budget Office, a federal agency that provides nonpartisan analysis to Congress.

Adjusted for inflation, the account “has grown fairly steadily since 1980 and, over that time, taken up an increasing share of [the Department of Defense’s] base budget,” the report concluded.

From 2000 to 2012 alone, it expanded by $64billion, the report noted, largely to pay for healthcare for military personnel and their families, civilian Defense employees’ salaries, and fuel.

With even more money coming their way, Pentagon officials say it will take time to sign contracts and allocate the additional dollars, perhaps well into next year.

Army Secretary Mark Esper told reporters that allowing operations funding to be spent through 2019 will “make better use of taxpayer dollars.”

“I can ensure more soldiers are trained — and well-trained — and I think overall we can deliver a much better product,” he added.

“I think it is a completely reasonable request, especially given how late Congress is in passing appropriations this year,” said Todd Harrison, a Pentagon budget expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington policy analysis organization. “The rush to spend money before it expires at the end of the fiscal year puts pressure on managers within [the Department of Defense] to sign contracts quickly rather than in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Roger Wicker (R-Ala.) have sponsored a bill that would give the Navy two years to spend operations and maintenance funds. They said the Navy had sought the expanded timeline to help prevent more accidents like the two deadly collisions involving U.S. warships and cargo carriers in the western Pacific last year.

“The significant shortcomings in our Navy’s readiness can have disastrous results,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement referring to the accidents, which involved two guided missile destroyers, the Fitzgerald and the McCain. “The status quo is unacceptable. Congress must provide the funding and oversight required to keep our military safe in peace and effective in combat.”

Unless they substantially trim the Trump administration hike in operations funds, lawmakers on the House and Senate appropriations committees face a difficult choice between giving the Pentagon more money than it can spend this year or more time to spend it — either of which, critics say, could lead to wasteful spending.

“It makes me question whether there are really plans to put that additional money to work,” Smithberger said.

The appropriations panels have long blocked two-year budgeting, arguing that keeping tight control of operations and maintenance funds through annual appropriations helps prevent wasteful spending.

They are even more reluctant to give Pentagon officials discretion to move money from one item to another without case-by-case congressional approval, another Pentagon request.

“That provides a check on the system to ensure the money is actually needed,” Harrison said. “But the costs of incentivizing reckless spending at the end of each fiscal year far outweigh the benefits of additional oversight.”