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July 21, 2011
4:32 PM

Watchdog Groups Identify Nearly $600 Billion in National Security Spending Cuts

WASHINGTON - July 21 - The federal government could save $586 billion over the next 10 years by cutting unneeded weapons, reining in out-of-control private contracts, reforming the military health care system and reducing the number of U.S. troops in Europe, under a set of proposed spending cuts identified today by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

While the Senate’s “Gang of Six” has proposed a substantial cut in defense spending, their plan lacks specifics. The proposals by POGO and Taxpayers for Common Sense provide a detailed blueprint on how to achieve the savings.

The report released by the watchdog groups reduces the deficit by targeting weapons that even the Pentagon says it doesn’t need or want. The plan also singles out the expense of paying private contractors to perform tasks that federal employees could do just as effectively and at a lower cost. Reducing service contracts by 15 percent could save $373 billion over the next 10 years.

“We’re giving Congress and President Obama a roadmap on where to start,” POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said. “These are realistic targets and don’t include the far more significant long-term savings of implementing enhanced administration and oversight of national security spending and contracting.”

Ryan Alexander, president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, added: “This an assembly of solid numbers based on our collective expertise and experience.  These should not be the hard choices—there is room for much more. The only way this country is going to climb out of our deep budgetary hole is to put everything on the table, and that includes defense spending, revenue, and entitlements. Eliminating the fat at the Pentagon will make our country fiscally stronger and more secure.”

The spending cuts targeted by POGO and Taxpayers for Common Sense, include:

  • $300 billion by reducing Department of Defense (DoD) service contracts by 15 percent;
  • $72 billion by reducing non-DoD service contracts by 15 percent;
  • $60 billion through reforms to the DoD’s TRICARE health care system;
  • $44 billion by replacing two of the three F-35 variants with the less expensive F/A-18 E/F’s;
  • $30 billion by withdrawing 20,000 troops from Europe, and
  • $12 billion by not renewing the procurement contract for the V-22 Osprey.

Read the full proposal at: or


Taxpayers for Common Sense is a non-partisan budget watchdog serving as an independent voice for American taxpayers. Our mission is to achieve a government that spends taxpayer dollars responsibly and operates within its means. We work with individuals, policymakers, and the media to increase transparency, expose and eliminate wasteful and corrupt subsidies, earmarks, and corporate welfare, and hold decision makers accountable.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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