Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cost Cutting Outlined in Murphy Report

From the inbox:

The Murphy Report from Congressman Patrick Murphy

from the inbox:

Each year, hundreds of billions of dollars go toward paying for our national defense. Now, as we fight two wars abroad, and have a federal budget limited by our increasing national debt, it is imperative that we make sure each defense dollar is being spent wisely and well. For too long Washington has been wasting taxpayer dollars on equipment and weapon systems that are outdated and obsolete. We must ensure that our troops have the resources they need while improving and strengthening our national security. In this issue of the Murphy Report, I want to share with you what I've been doing to trim wasteful spending.

Some programs, like the Loran-C satellite system, have been deemed unnecessary for nearly thirty years. Last July, Senator John McCain said: "Here we are, 28 years later, trying to terminate a program that literally every agency of government is trying to kill." I am proud to report that we terminated this program - saving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars - and the satellite officially went dark on February 8th.

Listed below are a handful of terminations we were able to accomplish in FY2010 which, in total, will save taxpayers over $10.2 billion:

* The termination of the Multiple Kill Vehicle. This will save over $4 billion from 2010 through 2015. The Multiple Kill Vehicle program requirements are uncertain and the program is already behind schedule and over budget.
* Terminating the F-22 Raptor program, saving taxpayers nearly $3.5 billion per year. In the past few months, our military leaders have made it very clear that the F-22 is a program they no longer want or need, and it hasn't flown a single mission over Iraq or Afghanistan.
* Replacement of the Transformational Satellite with more Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites. This switch is estimated to save approximately $1.5 to $2.5 billion through 2015.

Please know that during this tough recession, as families across the country are scaling back their budgets, I am taking a hard look at where our money goes in the federal budget. These savings are a good start, but more needs to be done. As I continue my work, I never forget that I need to be a prudent steward of taxpayer dollars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While I applaud efforts to trim the federal budget it frightens me that Congress doesn't understand what it is doing and is not willing to read the reports it funds or enforce the laws it passes. Case in point Loran.

1) Every...and I mean every...expert in radionavigation in the world has recommended upgrading the Loran system to eLoran to operate as a backup to GPS. Including the U.S. Position, Navigation, and Time Executive Committee.

2) Loran is not a satellite...it is a land based system. Getting facts from floor speeches in the Senate is not only foolish but it is dangerous.

3) The money...in the operations line item there is a savings of ~$190M...but you need to look at the whole budget and you would realize that it is going to cost ~$164M to terminate the system. This looks like a savings of less than $30M to me not to mention an indication that those in Congress and the Administration that want to take credit for savings are willing to shade the truth.

4) Following the law. Congress included specific language in the 2009 DHS Appropriations bill regarding certifications that needed to be made by SecDHS as well as when terminations plans needed to be submitted. If you read the certification provided by SecDHS you will see that she did not answer the question required of her and if you ask for the termination plan you will find it has not been provided to Congress as required by law. When is Congress going to step up and provide the oversight the Administration and its Departments need? When public companies falter people look at the Board of Directors and ask where the oversight was...in government that Board of Directors is Congress.

What I see happening here is an OMB Examiner threw Loran on the pile when the Administration was asking for savings and a speech writer put it in a Presidential speech. It then became a political issue and the facts concerning the need for the system and the actual cost of the system became irrelevant.

Additionally this issue again highlights a point brought to light in the 9/11 Commission Report. In the report it talks about the need for continuity between administrations when it comes to critical national infrastructure. After many years of educating the previous Administration it announced in February 2008 that it would transition to eLoran. And then as soon as the new Administration took office it immediately reversed course...it must have had time in its first month to read and understand all the issues surrounding Loran, GPS and how radionavigation affects the U.S. economy and national security. I say the first month because that is how long the Administration was in office before it proposed killing the Loran system.

The Administration has said that it will only fund programs that have a positive benefit/cost ratio, that expert scientists and engineers recommend, and that we will listen to our allies.

Well Loran meets all of these criteria. 1) One GPS outage in the next ten years and the system has a 13:1 payback. 2) Read the Loran Independent Assessment Team Report and you will see that the experts recommend the system. 3) The U.K. has sent letters and people to Washington to ask for the system to be maintained.

I will finish similar to how I began. Cutting the federal budget is an important task but it needs to be undertaken by people who are willing to research and understand the issues surrounding the various programs that are on the chopping block. In the case of Loran we have again shown that politics can trump facts and reason.