Monday, September 21, 2009

New chairs

I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I thought I’d share this little tidbit of information with you all.  There has been a lot of discussion about excess government spending, but despite efforts by our President and Secretary of Defense, the universal culture of fraud, waste, and abuse in the Department of Defense continues unabated.


A few months ago our unit needed to fund a trip to another island to conduct a mandatory inspection.  It wasn’t an optional thing – it was required by Air Force Instruction.  The whole trip cost roughly $2,500, but there were still other places we needed to go.  The other trips may have been more expensive, but they were still mandatory.  My leadership wanted to know who was going to pay for it, and from the way they were talking, it was as though the money tree had just died and we were going to have to start picking coconuts and hunting the range chickens for food.


Today my replacement was tasked with shopping out 30 chairs with roughly $13,000 to spend.  We’ve reached the end of the fiscal year, you see, and if we don’t spend all the money allocated to us, it’ll be taken away the following fiscal year.


So.  We skimp on spending money to do our jobs and then splurge at the end of the fiscal year to buy non-essentials like new chairs, just because we have the money.  I’ve seen this in every unit I’ve been with – Baghdad was the worst.  The system needs to change.  There needs to be better oversight of how money is spent, and if a unit goes on a spending spree in September year in and year out, then there needs to be an audit of their finances to determine if they’re wasting money on frivolous items like $400 chairs while neglecting important mission-related items.