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Oklahoma congressman recommends $68 billion in cuts to nondefense spending at Pentagon

A report by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's office faults military spending on research and overhead. Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Tom Cole say they'll take a look at their Oklahoma colleague's recommendations in defense-related congressional committees.
by Chris Casteel Modified: November 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012

And it recommends converting some military positions to civilian positions and reducing the number of general officers.

Inhofe shows interest

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, who is expected to be the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee next year and have increased influence over military matters, said in a statement:

“I appreciate Senator Coburn's many reports that look across the entire government for ways we can reduce spending.

“His most recent report on defense spending has some interesting items in it. I hope that the Senate Armed Services Committee, with its jurisdiction over these areas, will look into some of these items.

“There are areas where the Pentagon can improve efficiencies and reform the acquisition process to save taxpayer dollars, and those areas should be a high priority for the committee next year. At the same time, we cannot eliminate our debt and deficit spending solely on the backs of our military members and their families.

“We have an all volunteer force, and our retention rate has been good. So, some of these items cannot be considered in isolation, because when you cut benefits, you are essentially cutting their pay.”

Cole praises report

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, who sits on the powerful House subcommittee that oversees military spending, said Coburn's report “couldn't come at a better time.”

Cole said, “Our military will undergo crippling funding cuts unless we prevent the sequester (automatic cuts to defense spending) from being implemented in January. This report demonstrates that real defense spending is not driving our debt. Instead of the sequester cuts that reduce our military personnel, benefits and defense capabilities, Congress should be focused on eliminating outrageous wasteful spending, as well as reforming our inefficient entitlement system.

“Service members and their families deserve better than the fiscal cliff, and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee will certainly consider Sen. Coburn's findings.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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