As military manpower and new weapons programs face devastating budget cuts, a new study by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) finds the Pentagon might be better served to trim away at its cooking shows and beef jerky research instead.
Titled “Department of everything,” the 73-page report released today highlights examples of wasteful or unnecessary non-defense spending by the Defense Department. These range from the plausible (a $1 million kitchen for a DoD school in Virginia) to the ridiculous (a study underwritten by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Naval Research examining the use of slang in Twitter messages).
Other items ripe for slicing and dicing, Coburn finds, including a cooking show for the Pentagon channel called “Grill it Safe” featuring the “Grill Sergeants;” a $1.5 million project by the Foreign Comparative Testing program to develop roll-ups made of beef jerky instead of fruit; and a $6 million outlay by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to host, among other things, a two-day conference called “The Neurobiology of Narratives.”
“As the Pentagon and Congress consider cutting active duty Army infantry brigades,” Coburn writes, “it should consider whether or not keeping storytelling conferences is a good use of Department of Defense funding.”