Mandy Smithberger

Mandy Smithberger

Mandy Smithberger is the director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

Articles by this author

While Americans are overwhelmed by the pandemic, the Pentagon and its boosters are exploiting the emergency to feather their own nests. (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Monday, June 29, 2020
Covid-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Washington has initiated its largest spending binge in history. In the process, you might assume that the unparalleled spread of the disease would have led to a little rethinking when it came to all the trillions of dollars Congress has given the Pentagon in...
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A man wearing a mask checks his phone in Times Square in New York on March 22, 2020.(Photo: Kena Betancur / AFP - Getty Images) Views
Monday, May 04, 2020
Beware the Pentagon's Pandemic Profiteers
At this moment of unprecedented crisis, you might think that those not overcome by the economic and mortal consequences of the coronavirus would be asking, “What can we do to help?” A few companies have indeed pivoted to making masks and ventilators for an overwhelmed medical establishment...
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Shouldn’t the U.S. military be made into a far leaner and more agile force geared to actual defense instead of disastrous wars (and preparations for more of the same) across a significant swath of the planet? (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Monday, March 02, 2020
Letting the Pentagon Loose With Your Tax Dollars
Hold on to your helmets! It’s true the White House is reporting that its proposed new Pentagon budget is only $740.5 billion, a relatively small increase from the previous year’s staggering number. In reality, however, when you also include war and security costs buried in the budgets of other...
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For too long Congress has largely abdicated its responsibilities when it comes to holding the Pentagon accountable. (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
How The Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder in Contract After Contract
Call it a colossal victory for a Pentagon that hasn't won a war in this century, but not for the rest of us. Congress only recently passed and the president approved one of the largest Pentagon budgets ever. It will surpass spending at the peaks of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. As last year...
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Revolving-door hires and former defense executives in government remain a powerful force for the status quo in Pentagon spending. (Photo: Master Sgt. Ken Hammond / U.S. Air Force / Wikimedia Commons) Views
Friday, September 27, 2019
Bestselling Pentagon Fiction: Beware of Defense Secretaries Pledging Reform
For the Pentagon, happy days are here again (if they ever left). With a budget totaling more than $1.4 trillion for the next two years, the department is riding high, even as it attempts to set the stage for yet more spending increases in the years to come. With such enormous sums now locked in,...
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Our final annual tally for war, preparations for war, and the impact of war comes to more than $1.25 trillion—more than double the Pentagon’s base budget. (Photo: AP images) Views
Tuesday, May 07, 2019
Boondoggle, Inc: Making Sense of the $1.25 Trillion National Security State Budget
In its latest budget request, the Trump administration is asking for a near-record $750 billion for the Pentagon and related defense activities, an astonishing figure by any measure. If passed by Congress, it will, in fact, be one of the largest military budgets in American history, topping peak...
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 A new report from the Project On Government Oversight has documented 645 cases in 2018 alone in which former government officials held jobs at the top 20 Pentagon contractors. (Photo: David B. Gleason/flickr/cc) Views
Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Our Man From Boeing: The Pentagon's Revolving Door Spins Fast
The way personnel spin through Washington’s infamous revolving door between the Pentagon and the arms industry is nothing new. That door, however, is moving ever faster with the appointment of Patrick Shanahan , who spent 30 years at Boeing, the Pentagon’s second largest contractor , as the Trump...
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