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$29 Billion in Defense Spending Wasted, Taxpayer Group Says

April 02, 1996|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Wasteful spending added $29 billion to defense budgets in recent years, arms control and taxpayer advocacy groups said in a report released Monday.

In their study, "The Pentagon Follies," the Council for a Livable World and Taxpayers for Common Sense cited such examples as construction of a third golf course at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, an expensive dairy herd at the U.S. Naval Academy and a door hinge for the C-17 cargo plane that cost $2,187.

Defense Department spokeswoman Susan Hanson said that she had not seen the report but that allegations of waste are pursued and the problems often are corrected quickly. And some of the cases the report labeled waste can be justified, she said.

John Isaacs, director of the Council for a Livable World, credited Defense Secretary William J. Perry with aggressively seeking efficiency and cost savings throughout the military. The point of the report, he said, was to counter those who attack government waste in domestic programs while advocating more money for defense.

The group culled examples of wasteful spending from press accounts and government reports and audits. Among them:

* The Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., maintains a herd of 319 cows dating to a bad-milk incident early in the century. Annual cost: $1.2 million. The academy says it plans to sell the cows.

* Congress included $10.4 million in this year's defense budget to construct a second physical fitness center at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., even though there was no apparent overflow at the existing gym.

* The third golf course at Andrews Air Force Base will cost $5.1 million. Base officials defend the project, citing increased use at Andrews and other military installations.

* A C-17 door hinge that had to be manufactured hastily by McDonnell Douglas Corp. for $2,187 after a subcontractor failed to provide the part. It should have cost $31.

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