Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel dismayed his listeners at a military base in Charleston recently by telling them that the furloughs, forced by Congress in its efforts to reduce spending by "sequestering," probably will continue and may get worse.
Isn't it paradoxical that the furloughs, which have forced a 20 percent pay cut on most of the military's civilian work force, come at the same time that Congress wants the Pentagon to spend money on projects the armed services say they don't need and don't even want.
That includes $2.5 billion for the Global Hawk drone program ($223 million per plane), not to mention $436 million for restoring and improving the obsolete Abrams tank that the military considers useless today. (For more details, see the article by David Francis in The Fiscal Times, July 18.)
Of course, the answer is that vested interests are behind the vast military-industrial complex that has been geared up to produce these items, and their Washington lobbies seem quite able to get what they want out of Congress, even if nobody else can. Sad.
Daniel H. Daniels