• McCain Points To Millions In Wasteful Defense Spending, Including Bomb-Sniffing Elephants

    new report released by GOP Sen. John McCain highlights $1.1 billion dollars of wasteful federal spending and comes at a time when disapproval of the government is peaking.

    As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain has been at the forefront of the defense budget debate, calling for increased defense spending, while promising that during his tenure he will aggressively target waste at the Pentagon. In a previous statement, McCain also said he will tackle the military-industrial complex. (RELATED: Republicans Promise To Cut Pentagon Waste If Sequestration Is Lifted)

    One of the programs listed in the 19-page “America’s Most Wasted” report is a $50,000 dollar grant awarded to researchers for the purpose of studying the ability of African elephants to sniff out bombs. It’s still not clear whether elephants are superior to dogs in bomb detection.

    “While finding new ways to enhance our bomb detection methods is important, it is unlikely that African elephants could feasibly be used on the battlefield given their large size and sensitive status as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act,” the report states.

    “At a time when the defense budget faces serious cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011, it is critical that Congress ensures our military branches spend their limited funds on worthwhile programs that effectively and efficiently enhance our military readiness.”

    McCain also targeted the National Guard for complaining that it was staring down the barrel of a $101 million dollar shortfall. According to the report, even as the National Guard was hemorrhaging funds, it managed to cobble together millions to pay for advertising through sports leagues, in order to boost recruiting numbers. In 2014, $32.2 million dollars went to NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Other sports leagues like the National Football League and the National Hockey League received $4.2 million for the purpose of sending players to local high schools. In total, the National Guard spent $49 million.

    The justification for the massive expenditure is that the National Guard receives a huge return, but McCain isn’t convinced. First, the National Guard hasn’t provided any evidence for its claim, and second, wasting taxpayer funds on speculative endeavors “raises serious questions particularly as the Guard reduces its end-strength.”

    This is the first report in a series of reports soon to come down the line. The next set will target wasteful spending directly in the Department of Defense.

    Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter

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