Power Dynamics at the Pentagon


This is an important story for informed citizens. Maybe. A few years ago the Pentagon commissioned an internal study  which found  that the Pentagon wastes $25 billion a year. The authors of the study then outlined a plan on how to save the Pentagon $125 billion over the next five years, which upon receiving the leaders at the Pentagon immediately buried. As you will see in the video, reports say that the leaders were afraid that their budget might get cut, or at least stay stagnant, even though lobbyists for the defense budget have been saying for years that a big budget increase is absolutely critical.

Is it not amazing that our public leaders, or public servants as they are sometimes (probably mistakenly) referred to, would waste $25 billion a year of OUR money rather than humbly concede that they are running a wasteful system and thus immediately make concerted efforts to become more efficient and frugal? Does this story make anyone else wonder how many tax dollars are wasted in other departments?

But perhaps the most troubling question of all is: what are informed citizens to do upon learning about such waste? Imagine that you are a well-off citizen living in a much more violent world than we do now. To stay safe, you hire a big, strong team of ex-military to run your security team. No price is too high when it comes to your safety. So you give them a big budget so they can buy the best assault rifles, the stealthiest drones, and the newest communication technologies. After a few years,  money becomes tighter and tighter. So you commission the team to run an in depth analysis on their spending patterns. Their own study finds that they have been incredibly wasteful.

But, there is hope: without firing anyone you could save thousands and thousands of dollars a year just by implementing some measures to ensure maximum efficiency for every purchasing decision. Out of fear of changing their established spending habits, however, or of losing their jobs even though you assured them that would not happen, the team quickly erases the study from your files (because of course they have access to everything of yours).  How are you supposed to react? You cant fire them; they know everything about you and everyone you care about. Are you supposed to physically confront them?  But they are much bigger, stronger and far more skilled in combat then you. Talk it out, perhaps? But why would they listen? They are the ones with guns, and the drones, and the technology.

What actions would you take in this imaginary situation?  What actions are U.S. citizens supposed to take in this real-life situation?