Desperate but Smart

It has been reported that DoD is adding $360 billion over the next six defense budgets beginning with the fiscal 2010 stash, which would increase from $527 billion to $587 billion. This news followed recent comments by Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, USN, who stated the services needed to “get off the supplementals.”

Could these moves be related? The Magic Eight Ball says, “Signs point to yes.”

The budgets in question are revisions of estimates sent to Congress in February 2008. The move has been labeled unusual, and some wonder what’s changed since February to justify the increases. It seems DoD has entered budget rehab.

As discussed in our last entry, the Joint Chieftan wants to wean DoD off its second set of books, and he seems to be acting sooner than expected. He finally has figured out two important things. First, Congress most likely will “cut, baby, cut” because supplementals don’t make much sense. (We give them two budgets, why?) The second revelation: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; it is easier to put the money into one budget than it is to do back-flips while twirling a flaming baton and torturing lawmakers with endless Power Point presentations to coerce them into funding the suspect second set of books.

So Mad Mike’s mainlining’ — desperate times call for desperate measures, and there might be widespread panic over losing supplemental bucks. Moving away from the Enron-style accounting is a good thing.

If DoD wants money, why not raise it? (Call the lawyers, and kids, don’t try this at home.) Out-of-work Wall Streeters can repackage and sell DoD-backed securities to raise capital to more than make up for any loss in the supplemental column. In fact, maybe they can raise enough to buy vexing countries out-right bringing stability not just to the defense budget (excluding the Navy’s shipbuilding program) but to the world. Why not buy Afghanistan and Venezuela? We’re sure North Korea can be had for a good price. Libya would be of tremendous value to our fledgling AFRICOM. Why not really accomplish something with all that money? Brilliant? Shades of Iran-Contra. Sure, but the legal details can be worked out.

Well, maybe not, but Mad Mike’s move to mainline money into the DoD bloodstream and move away from the time-squandered, cajoling Congress for bucks to track in that second set of books is important, albeit long overdue. Better late than never.

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