3 Wasteful Military Programs Congress Should Cut To Free Up Money For Upgrades

May 2, 2017

In 2016, as ISIS spread its mayhem into the heart of Western Europe, beheading a Catholic priest at the altar in France and murdering well more than 100 other innocents across the continent, the Obama administration directed the secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to “integrate climate change considerations” into their “policy, guidance, plans, and operations.” The order reflected the Obama administration’s worldview: “If you’re consumed by the Middle East, you can’t fix climate change,” foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes lectured, reverting, apparently, to his earlier career as a fiction writer.

Fortunately, President Trump signed his own executive order last month rescinding the Obama order the Department of Defense directive was based on. Trump’s order gives federal agencies, including the DoD, 180 days to conduct internal reviews and submit reports recommending programs and regulations that should be eliminated.

The contents of the DoD’s report may be of particular interest to Defense Secretary James Mattis, who reportedly informed the Trump administration that the president’s proposed defense budget is insufficient to rebuild the military. If Mattis cannot persuade Trump to request additional funds, then perhaps he can convince him to reprioritize existing funding instead. Here are a few simple — and politically convenient — programs the SecDef might highlight.

The ‘Green Base’ Mandate

Title 10, section 2911 of U.S. Code requires DoD installations to obtain 25 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2025. Eliminating the mandate will require cooperation from Congress, but Trump should make it a priority to do so. In theory, authentic energy security on military bases in the event of a shortage of traditional fuels would be a good thing for national security. Sadly, this is not what the activists had in mind.

A government study found that only two out of 17 renewable energy programs surveyed were designed to provide power in the event of a traditional power shortage. The remaining programs burned large amounts of money for the sole purpose of avoiding fossil fuel consumption. From 2014 to 2015, defense spending on renewable energy construction increased by 60 percent.

These largely useless programs are not the only green energy boondoggles, unfortunately. It gets much sillier. To meet the mandate’s arbitrary renewable energy minimums, the DoD simply purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from third parties. RECs allow their holder to meet renewable energy requirements without actually producing or consuming any of the energy itself.

According to the Heritage Foundation, “the DoD receives credit for meeting renewable energy standards by covering some of the production costs of private energy projects with defense dollars.” In return, the DoD obtains no energy and no discernible benefit at all other than compliance with arbitrary requirements. The Heritage report concluded that the mandate — and compliance efforts — diverted funds from the Pentagon’s wartime priorities. A DoD feasibility study the report cites described the use of those funds to comply with the mandate as “financially unappealing in all cases.”....

Read entire article at The Federalist.

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